Márquez to represent host team as All-Star
DENVER -- Right-hander Germán Márquez insisted he didn’t know.
Márquez had fanned a season-high 11 Cardinals in the first six innings of the Rockies’ eventual 3-2 walk-off victory on Sunday at Coors Field. Manager Bud Black told him he was done for the day, then informed him that he reached a goal -- being named to the National League squad for the All-Star Game.
The All-Star Game will be played at Coors Field on July 13.
Márquez celebrated what he called a “very emotional moment” by leaning to Black for a hug, the warmth of which could be felt all the way to the southern hemisphere.
In his hometown of San Felix, Venezuela, many of his relatives and friends have made his starts a get-together. On Sunday, while giving a nod to his homeland by doing his press conference in Spanish (with bullpen catcher Aaron Muñoz translating), Márquez said he didn’t mind the eyes of his nation on each of his pitches.
“I feel like sometimes the whole country of Venezuela is watching my game, and I have a lot of support,” Márquez said. “I know all my family watches it. They watch every outing. I am extremely grateful and happy that they’re able to do that. It’s a lot of people watching.”
“I messaged my parents right away. Most of my loved ones have gotten the news. Hopefully, I get to reach out to a bit more.”
The All-Star honor is something rarely seen by a Rockies pitcher. Márquez became the club’s eighth pitcher, and sixth starting pitcher, to earn All-Star selection. He also is the only Rockies player this year selected for the All-Star Game.
Black’s team completed a 6-1 homestand that included Márquez’s one-hitter against the Pirates on Tuesday. (The right-hander took a no-hitter into the ninth.)
The manager was on pins and needles about informing Márquez of news he had received Sunday morning. After all, he was going to face a difficult Cardinals lineup. Black consulted with interim general manager Bill Schmidt, with his coaching staff and even club owner Dick Monfort before deciding to withhold.
“Everything was going in the right direction over the last six weeks, and the last number of starts,” Black said. “And I saw him earlier, and he was focused. I just didn't want to disrupt that.
“But I'm telling you, I couldn't wait to tell him. I was holding that in, and when I told him, it was a great moment.”
Márquez was a rookie in 2017, Black’s first year as manager, and became part of a rotation that included fellow rookies Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela, as well as solid young pitcher Jon Gray. That group put the team in the postseason in ’17 and ’18. Freeland finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2018, but that’s been it for recognition of Rockies pitchers -- who deal with a favorable hitting environment.
“We all feel like proud papas,” Black said.
Márquez is on a run impossible to ignore. The two runs he yielded in the second inning Sunday on a Harrison Bader home run were twice as many runs as Márquez had given up in his previous three starts combined.
The 3.59 ERA Márquez carries would be considered respectable in most instances. But Márquez does most of his work at Coors Field, and it represents a sizzling run since the low point of his season -- eight runs while managing just two first-inning outs against the Giants at home on May 4. Since then, he has held opposition to two or fewer runs in nine of 11 starts.
The crowd of 36,891 on Sunday had its chance to celebrate the moment when the selection was announced.
“It's just one of those moments that's unforgettable,” Márquez said. “And there are all sorts of emotions going on. It’s hard for me to express it in the moment, but I’m extremely grateful and happy.”
Since the franchise began play in 1993, the following Rockies pitchers previously were selected as All-Stars:
• Lefty starter Mike Hampton, 2001
• Righty starter Shawn Chacon, 2003: Missed the game with an elbow injury
• Lefty reliever Brian Fuentes, 2005-07
• Righty starter Aaron Cook, 2008
• Righty starter Jason Marquis, 2009
• Righty starter Ubaldo Jiménez, 2010: NL starting pitcher that year
• Righty reliever Greg Holland, 2017