GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The stomach bug running rampant through the Rockies’ clubhouse reached right-hander German Márquez on Saturday morning, but his fastball, slider and curve were nastier than this virus.
Marquez struck out nine in three innings of the Rockies' 7-1 Cactus League loss to the Indians. He gave up four hits, and the only run came on Matt Joyce’s two-out single in the third. Marquez should have been out of that inning, but his curveball bounced hard away from catcher Tom Murphy, who threw wildly to first base to allow Jordan Luplow into scoring position.
Even if his stomach was not cooperating, Marquez, 24, displayed the form he used last season to lead the Majors in strikeouts after the All-Star break, with 124 of his club single-season record 230.
“My body didn't feel good, but my stuff was still there,” said Marquez, who debuted with six games (three starts) in 2016, and has 65 Major League regular-season starts, plus one in the postseason. “I just competed.”
Manager Bud Black said Marquez wasn’t totally sharp and that, “you make 33 starts during the regular season, you’re not going to feel great all the time.” But the ability to produce consistently, good days and bad, deserves high praise.
“He’s got weapons, and I like the poise that he’s exhibited over the last couple of years,” Black said. “There’s been great growth in that area. There’s confidence. He’s developing into one of the best pitchers in the National League, and maybe all of baseball.”
In the second inning, Marquez walked Ryan Flaherty and gave up a Mike Freeman double with one out, but struck out Max Moroff and Jake Bauers. Marquez insisted that other than Bauers, he was looking for grounders.
“A strikeout just happens from making my pitches,” Marquez said.
The virus’ tour of the Rockies clubhouse hasn’t abated. Hitting coach Dave Magadan was sent home Saturday morning. Right fielder Charlie Blackmon was scratched from the Mexico trip to protect his teammates, although he did participate in a 25-pitch simulated game thrown by lefty Kyle Freeland, who had his start scratched on Friday because he didn’t feel well. (Freeland returns to the rotation Wednesday.)
Lefty reliever Jake McGee showed up Saturday, a day after his sickness was announced, but the team sent him home to continue his recovery.
And just before the Rockies’ game against the D-backs on Saturday night at Monterrey, Mexico, the club announced that catcher Tony Wolters would not play because of illness. He had missed time in recent days, but was believed to be better.
Blackmon, wearing a knit hat and clearly struggling before going out to hit, said, “I’d rather guys go through this now than in April. I guess, it just seems like all of a sudden you’re throwing a bunch of guys in close proximity with each other, somebody’s got to get sick. That’s just kind of how it is.”
Tuesday, the Rockies’ first day off in the Cactus League schedule, can’t get here soon enough.
Oberg is on
Righty Scott Oberg, one of the options for the primary right-handed setup role, struck out one in one inning Saturday. In five Cactus League innings, Oberg has five strikeouts against one hit and two walks.
“Very confident -- he’s now establishing himself after a couple years fortifying himself as a Major League reliever,” Black said. “Self-confidence, weapons, delivery, all the things coming together at the same time.”
Corner infielder Tyler Nevin, the Rockies’ No. 7 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, went 1-for-2 to bring his batting average to .417 (5-for-12) in his first Major League Spring Training.
Righty Chad Bettis will start against the Dodgers at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick at 2:10 p.m. MDT. In the second of two games at Monterrey, Mexico, lefty Tyler Anderson will face D-backs right-hander Matt Koch at 3:10 p.m. MDT.