Saunders: German Márquez on verge of being Rockies’ first legitimate ace

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Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke — bonafide, certified aces, 1 and all. If not astatine the contiguous time, past surely for overmuch of their star-spangled careers.

So what astir Rockies right-hander German Márquez, who is good connected his mode to being the champion starting pitcher successful franchise history? Is helium the archetypal morganatic ace successful Rockies’ history?

First, the evidence.

Friday night, the first-time all-star threw six scoreless innings and struck retired seven. In his 23 starts, Márquez has surrendered 2 oregon less runs 15 times. Over his past 9 starts, he’s posted a 1.94 ERA with 61 strikeouts and lone 13 walks. Hitters person looked helpless against him, arsenic their .164 batting mean illustrates.

And remember, Márquez’s location ballpark is Coors Field. This is simply a spot that prompted legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully to say, “You don’t request an authoritative scorer astatine Coors Field. You request a certified nationalist accountant.”

But astatine Coors this season, Márquez is 7-2 with a 3.01 ERA successful 14 starts, 10 of them prime starts. He’s constricted opponents to a .198 mean with conscionable 4 location runs allowed.

On June 29, helium took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Pirates. He didn’t get it, but helium threw the archetypal one-hit, complete-game shutout by a Rockies pitcher successful Coors Field history.

While modern shot folks volition archer you that the fig of wins connected a pitcher’s shot paper has go irrelevant, W’s inactive substance — a lot — for idiosyncratic who calls Coors Field home, wherever endurance is often the sanction of the game.

Friday night, Márquez won his 10th crippled of the season, joining Jon Gray (2016-19) and Jorge De La Rosa (2008-09, 2013-14) arsenic the lone pitchers successful franchise past to person 4 10-win seasons.

After the game, I asked Márquez if helium thinks of himself arsenic an ace.

“I don’t deliberation excessively overmuch connected that,” helium said. “I conscionable deliberation of going retired and helping my squad and the numbers are going to amusement (it).”

I besides asked manager Bud Black if Márquez is simply a existent ace.

“I’m a pugnacious justice connected that,” Black said. “First of all, you person to walk the trial of time, to get successful that category. I deliberation he’s heading toward that, based connected his performances and what he’s done statistically.”

Black noted that each squad has 5 starters, making for 150 starters successful the majors astatine a fixed time, but Black knows that not each squad has a existent ace.

But past helium said: “I deliberation you tin commencement reasoning astir German successful those terms. I don’t privation to anoint that yet, conscionable due to the fact that I’m a pugnacious judge. I’m precise pugnacious connected that. But he’s showing, done performance, what benignant of pitcher helium is.”

Márquez, conscionable 26, is nether the Rockies’ power done 2023. He’s entering the premier of his career. In my mind, he’s already the champion pitcher successful Rockies past and helium has a accidental to get better, arsenic agelong arsenic helium stays healthy.

Black is coaxing Márquez to make a amended changeup, a transportation Márquez tin utilize to enactment distant left-handed hitters. Knowing Márquez’s drive, aggravated volition to triumph and intelligence, helium volition maestro that pitch.

And support successful caput that Márquez began this play with mechanical problems successful his delivery. In the mediate of May, his ERA was 5.56. But helium figured it retired and he’s a amended pitcher having gone done that slump.

So here’s my prediction: When each is said and done, Márquez volition ain that no-hitter helium craves, and Black volition anoint him arsenic a existent ace.

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