Bud Black will reach a milestone Sunday, and his Colorado Rockies could give him the perfect present.
Black will manage his 2,000th major-league game in the Rockies’ final game before the All-Star break. And the event will take place where it all began – Petco Park in San Diego.
The former pitcher launched his managerial career with the Padres in 2007. After nine seasons in San Diego, where he also played for San Diego State, Black moved on to Colorado.
So what could the Rockies give Black to celebrate the occasion?
Career win 964.
A victory Sunday also would give Black and the Rockies their first series win on the road in 2021. After Saturday night’s 3-0 victory, the Rockies are 8-34 away from home this season.
The National League West-contending Padres are staring into the possibility of a losing homestand after splitting a series with the Washington Nationals. They are 3-3 in their final homestand before the All-Star Game.
“It’d be great to finish the first half on a winning note,” Black said. “The break is always more enjoyable after a win.”
The Rockies will start right-hander Jon Gray (5-6, 3.94 ERA) Sunday. The Padres will counter with left-hander Ryan Weathers (4-2, 3.02 ERA).
The 29-year-old Gray is 0-2 with a 3.97 ERA this season, although he has an impressive career mark against the Padres. In 23 appearances (22 starts) against them, Gray has a 10-6 record with a 3.06 ERA with 148 strikeouts against 29 walks in 132 1/3 innings.
Sunday will be Gray’s 16th start of 2021. The Rockies are 6-9 in games started by Gray, although they are just 2-6 over his past eight outings. He has given up 42 runs (35 earned) on 67 hits and 32 walks with 73 strikeouts in 80 innings.
Meanwhile, the 21-year-old Weathers, who will make his first career start against the Rockies, is facing an uncertain second half because the Padres don’t know exactly how and how much they want to use him.
“He’s certainly not going to work 200 innings,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said.
In a perfect world, the Padres’ second-half rotation would be Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Dinelson Lamet, Blake Snell and Chris Paddack, with Weathers working as a spot starter and a reliever. But nothing about the Padres’ pitching has gone as expected this season. The first half is ending with both Lamet and Snell on the injured list.
Weathers has made 10 starts; none has reached the sixth inning. And his ERA has inched up in each of his past five outings and seven of the past eight. His most recent start, Tuesday against Washington, was his worst of the season — four runs allowed on seven hits, including a pair of homers, in 5 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media