Sports fans in Miami and Denver are understandably looking at a seemingly inevitable NBA Finals between the Heat and Nuggets, but there is another matchup between the cities happening this week.
The Marlins and Rockies are in the midst of a four-game series in Colorado -- albeit with a lot less on the line than what is happening on the hardcourt. But it still matters to the baseball teams that will go at it again Tuesday.
The Rockies won the opener 5-3 on Monday night in Denver.
Miami will send right-hander Eury Perez (1-0, 2.79 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday to oppose Colorado left-hander Austin Gomber (3-4, 6.70).
Perez, like the Marlins' Monday starter, Edward Cabrera, is a young flamethrower with a lot of potential. He made his major league debut May 12 against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing two runs in 4 2/3 innings, and he earned his first career win six days later with five innings of one-run ball against the Nationals.
He was 20 years and 33 days old when he beat Washington, becoming the youngest pitcher in club history to earn his first win.
All three runs Perez allowed in his two outings came on solo home runs.
"Guys are going to hit, and you don't want to scare away from your fastball," Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. "He throws 100 (mph), so the last thing I'm going to say is, 'Don't throw your fastball.'
"You throw strikes, we have a good chance to win. I don't want him or any of our guys to be scared to throw it inside the strike zone. We always have a good chance. Solo home runs typically don't beat you anyways, so totally OK with the solo home run."
The Rockies were able to shrug off being swept by the host Texas Rangers over the weekend to stop a three-game skid with the Monday win. Colorado has played better in May, going 11-8 after losing 20 of 29 in April.
Among the encouraging signs for Colorado are some strong performances from the injury-riddled rotation. Gomber, who struggled early in the season, put together four consecutive strong outings before allowing five runs in 4 1/3 innings during a no-decision against Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Colorado managed to win the game and is 4-1 in Gomber's past five starts, which helps offset the losses of three starters to injuries.
"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 3.54 ERA in his past five 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."
He can continue to build on his momentum while facing a Marlins club he has pitched well against in his career. In four appearances, two of them starts, Gomber is 2-0 with a 3.95 ERA.
In his only start against the Rockies in Denver, which came on Aug. 7, 2021, he tossed six scoreless innings and struck out nine.
--Field Level Media