Astros hoping their bats warm up against Rockies

MLB Baseball

Baseball season is in its third week, but you wouldn’t know it by the weather in Colorado. A snowstorm postponed the first of the Rockies’ eight-game homestand, and temperatures have been closer to freezing than tropic.

Tuesday night Houston and Colorado opened a two-game interleague series with temperatures in the 30s. Players were wearing ski hats and long sleeves to deal with the cold, and temperatures dropped into the 20s as the night progressed.

Things will be marginally better Wednesday when the Astros and Rockies wrap up the quick series. Jose Urquidy (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will pitch for Houston against Austin Gomber (0-2, 3.52).

Colorado took the first game, 6-2, behind a five-RBI night from C.J. Cron.

Urquidy has faced the Rockies once in his short career, a start at Coors Field where he lasted just 3 2/3 innings and got a no decision. He allowed two runs on six hits in that outing.

He started three interleague games without getting a decision and has a 2.87 ERA in those outings.

Urquidy and the Astros got some reinforcements back for the series and are still waiting for others to return. Third baseman Alex Bregman, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, catcher Martin Maldonado and infielder Robel Garcia were activated off the injured list before Tuesday’s game. They were placed on the COVID-19 injured list on April 14 along with Jose Altuve.

Altuve has yet to pass protocols.

Bregman and Maldonado were in the lineup while Alvarez and Garcia were available off the bench. There is no designated hitter in the National League, and manager Dusty Baker didn’t want to use Alvarez in the vast Coors Field outfield.

“It’s feels excellent to get them back,” Baker said before the game. “I just hope that they’re pretty sharp when they come back.”

Colorado is halfway through its homestand and is trying to rack up victories to dig out of an early-season hole. The offense has struggled to produce runs this season. Trevor Story has yet to homer, and Charlie Blackmon is hitting .184, well below what is expected from the 2017 NL batting champion.

Blackmon feels like he is close to turning things around.

“I feel like my swing is fine,” he said before Tuesday’s game. “I think I’m doing a pretty good job of swinging at the right pitches, for the most part. So all of the things that I generally concern myself with, all of the processes, aren’t bad.

“I don’t think it has necessarily translated into success in the (batter’s) box yet, but I think it will. … I haven’t felt locked in yet. That’s something that’s going to happen at some point during the season.”

Gomber has begun to settle into the Rockies’ rotation after a rough start with his new team. He walked seven in three innings in his first outing but has pitched at least six innings in his last two starts.

It hasn’t translated into a win yet, and he will try to get his first against a team he has yet to face. Gomber has plenty of interleague experience, however, appearing in nine games — four starts — and is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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