|12:10 PM PT1:10 PM MT2:10 PM CT3:10 PM ET15:10 ET19:10 GMT3:10 12:10 PM MST2:10 PM EST2:40 PM VEN23:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, April 8, 2021
Coors Field, Denver, Colorado Attendance: 10,836
D-backs' Merrill Kelly looks for improvement at Colorado
Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies
- These teams have split 86 regular-season games since 2016, with each winning 43 times. Arizona has taken 2-of-3 from Colorado in each of its last two visits to Denver (August 2020 & August 2019).
- Arizona opened the season in San Diego and lost 3-of-4, but staved off the sweep with a 3-1 win on Sunday. The Diamondbacks hit four home runs on Opening Day, but managed just one longball in the final three games of the series against the Padres.
- Colorado opened the season at home against the Dodgers and lost 3-of-4, winning on Opening Day, but then losing three straight. Four of the six home runs hit by the Rockies in the series came in the seventh inning of the second game, the second time in franchise history they have hit four HR in an inning.
- Ketel Marte had a big opening series in San Diego, collecting nine hits (at least one in every game) and two home runs. Marte has scored at least one run in five straight games at Coors Field, and has 16 runs scored and 12 RBI in his last 12 games in Denver.
- In his last 21 games in the starting lineup versus Arizona, Raimel Tapia has at least one hit in 20 of the 21 games, and is hitting .420 (37-for-88). Since August 12, 2019, Tapia has 30 hits in his last 14 starts against the Diamondbacks.
- Luke Weaver had a bad 2020, going 1-9 with a 6.58 ERA in 12 starts after going 4-3 with a 2.94 ERA in 12 starts in 2019.
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Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly faces a tough task as he tries to rebound from a poor first start of the season.
Kelly (0-1, 6.75 ERA) will take the mound Thursday afternoon in one of baseball's most intimidating venues, Coors Field. He will oppose right-hander Jon Gray (0-0, 1.80 ERA) and the Colorado Rockies in the finale of a three-game series at Denver.
The teams split the first contests, with Arizona winning 10-8 in 13 innings Tuesday before Colorado prevailed 8-0 Wednesday.
Kelly struggled in his first start of 2021 on Friday at San Diego. He allowed three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four in four innings. He threw 94 pitches due in large part to 23-pitch second inning and a 28-pitch third inning.
"Not great, not terrible. Felt pretty good in the beginning, felt pretty sharp," Kelly said after the Diamondbacks' 4-2 loss to the Padres. "Just too many pitches early in the game. ... Obviously, not going to be going too deep into games when you're throwing that many pitches early."
Kelly, 32, is in his third major-league season but is a graybeard in comparison to most players with that limited service time. He made his major-league debut in 2019 after a lengthy stint in South Korean baseball, and he finished 13-14 in 32 starts as a rookie for the Diamondbacks.
Thursday will be the fourth time Kelly will face Colorado and his third time pitching in Denver. He is 1-2 with a 7.64 ERA in 17 2/3 overall innings against the Rockies. He is 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA in his two outings at Coors Field.
Gray was pitching well in his first start Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers before leaving after facing one batter in the sixth. He shut out the defending champs through five innings, but full-body cramps forced him out of a game Colorado was leading 2-0 at the time. Los Angeles rallied to win 6-5.
"Even after the fifth, I thought I was going to be able to make (it through) seven, even with this going on," Gray said after the game. "I thought I could somehow manage it and stay out there. But it's something that, it's kind of risky, I guess. Because if there's a ball (hit to) me, and I really go after it, it can make it worse.
"The only thing I can think is I didn't eat enough carbs. I usually don't eat a lot on start days, but today I ate quite a bit. But it was so heavy protein-loaded."
Gray has had mixed results in 12 career starts against Arizona in the regular season. He is 4-5 with a 5.34 ERA against the Diamondbacks but has had more success against them when pitching on the road. He is 0-3 with a 7.80 in six starts against Arizona in Colorado.
Gray started one postseason game against the Diamondbacks, the 2017 National League wild-card game, and he was hit hard. He lasted just 1 1/3 innings and gave up four runs on seven hits.
One Diamondbacks hitter Gray might not get to face Thursday is center fielder Ketel Marte, who exited the Wednesday game due to a right leg injury. Marte got hurt running out a sixth-inning grounder.
"We're not exactly sure the extent of what is happening there right now," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "He's going to continue to be evaluated for the rest of the night and through the night and on into (Thursday)."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 8, 2021