Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Chi Chi González labors in first Miami start

For Rockies right-hander Chi Chi González, you can’t always go home again. The Miami native pitched at loanDepot park for the first time in his big league career on Thursday night and it was an outing he would like to forget as Colorado fell, 11-4, in the rubber match.

González is from Boca Raton and grew up a Marlins fan, but the Marlins spoiled his homecoming. He lasted five innings and allowed eight runs on 11 hits. In the second inning, Miami batted around and scored six runs on three homers.

A lot of pitchers in the Major Leagues can’t afford to miss their spots when they are on the mound, and González is one of them. He is not the type of pitcher that can blow hitters away with his fastball. In this game, González had a tough time keeping his slider down in the zone.

Adam Duvall opened the scoring with a two-run homer over the left-center-field wall. Five batters later, Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit a three-run homer to make it 5-0. Starling Marte followed and hit a home run over the left-center-field wall in a back-to-back effort.

“It was a tough night [for González],” manager Bud Black said. “Chi Chi is a pitcher that has to hit his spots and has to change speeds. He has to move the ball in and out. Tonight, it was apparent he wasn’t able to locate the ball.

“The home run to Duvall was up and over the plate. Really, the backbreaker was the 0-2 pitch to Chisholm. That had to catch the middle part of the plate for him to hit it where he hit it. Marte, it looked like [González] tried in and he didn’t get quite in enough. Those six runs right there resulted from mislocation.”

González had a lot of friends and family in the stands. He claims it wasn’t a distraction for him.

“I felt their energy. It’s unfortunate I didn’t pitch well,” González said.

González settled down during the next two innings, but he had a tough time getting the third out in the fifth. It didn’t help that shortstop Trevor Story, in his first game off the injured list, couldn’t handle a ground ball by Jorge Alfaro, who ended up at second base with a double. Alfaro scored on José Devers’ single to left-center and Jon Berti followed with an RBI double to bring home Devers.

González will remain the fifth starter. He knows what he has to do to be successful on the mound in his next start.

“I have to limit the mistakes, execute the breaking ball with two strikes when I need to,” he said. “[I have to] know who the ambushers [are]. Don’t let it happen to those guys, just pitch more down in the zone.”

Right-hander Jhoulys Chacín replaced González and didn’t fare much better, allowing three runs in one inning. Jesús Aguilar highlighted the scoring with an RBI double.

González’s counterpart, Trevor Rogers, logged seven innings and eight strikeouts, while allowing two runs on four hits. The two runs were scored in the seventh inning, highlighted by Brendan Rodgers’ pinch-hit homer.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen him live. It’s real,” Black said about Rogers. “It’s easy velocity. The ball has a lot of carry and life in the hitting area. He has a great feel for the changeup. So the fastball/changeup combo is legit. … He is a good-looking young left-handed pitcher.”

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