Gomber a glue for rotation in repair

Lefty showing consistency when Rockies need a steady starter

May 13th, 2023

DENVER – The Rockies’ rotation is in pain, but it won’t be in disarray as long as it receives starts like the one from on Friday night.

The Rockies’ 6-3 loss to the Phillies featured Gomber pitching hitless ball for the first 4 2/3 innings and holding a strong lineup to three runs over 6 2/3 frames. As tight pitching contests sometimes go, this one went to the Phillies after Bryce Harper’s tie-breaking two-run double off in the eighth.

After a difficult beginning to the season, Gomber -- who despite the strong performance gave up an Alec Bohm solo shot and a Kyle Schwarber two-run shot in the seventh inning -- turned in his fourth straight strong start.

Gomber held the Phillies to five hits, struck out six and didn’t issue a walk. The outing occurred on the same day that the team’s top starter, Germán Márquez, underwent Tommy John surgery, and veteran starter learned that he has a right elbow sprain that could cost him at least two months.

Behind , who has been consistently competitive and lately has been consistently low on luck, the rotation is full of either guys like Gomber who are hungry to demonstrate big league consistency or younger pitchers receiving their first tastes at this level.

Even with the injuries, Rockies starters have compiled a 3.97 ERA in the team’s last 20 games.

“We’ve got guys who are throwing the ball well that have been here all year, and the guys that have filled in have been awesome,” said Gomber, who is 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA in his last four starts. “That’s your job. When you get the opportunity to pitch, you’ve got to go out there and give your team a chance to win.

“I don’t know if we were doing that much early on. We’re doing a better job of late.”

Maybe Gomber and Taijuan Walker, the Phillies’ starter on Friday, either should stop meeting like this, or make this a regular rendezvous. Last May 22, Gomber pitched seven innings and yielded just two runs but Walker, then with the Mets, went seven scoreless and won, 2-0.

This time, they each left with no-decisions, with Walker giving up three runs in six-plus frames, but made big impressions.

“From a pitching standpoint, it was artful, those first six,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of Gomber. “Efficient strikes, in and out, up and down, changing speeds. It was tremendous.

“He was outstanding. So was the other guy. He was really good, too. We came in knowing that he had the good fastball, good two-seamer and the split-finger, but this sort of cutter popped up tonight and got away from the right-handed barrel.”

Bohm’s homer off Gomber’s mistake changeup conjured a nightmare.

“He hit a home run off me last year in Philly on the same pitch,” Gomber recalled.

As Schwarber’s two-out shot climbed into the chilly sky, Rockies center fielder settled as if it would be a deep fly, but it kept going.

“When I first looked up at the way he reacted, I thought it was staying in the park, but I mean he hit it really good,” Gomber said.

The Rockies reside in last place in the National League West. But the loss Friday was only their third in the last 11 games, and the run of solid play can continue with pitching like Gomber displayed.

“I feel pretty confident that if I do that every time out, we’re going to win more times than we lose,” Gomber said.