Remembering the 2000 Philadelphia Phillies (The Last Phils Team Worse Than This One)

Remembering the 2000 Philadelphia Phillies (The Last Phils Team Worse Than This One)

Things are bad for the Phillies this season. You don't need me to remind you how bad--not after they lost two games to the reeling Mets by scores of 5-0 and 11-3 last week, just as it seemed like they might be building some momentum towards at least some sort of moral winning streak to end the season. Nope: Team still sucks. Reminder appreciated as always.

Still, things could be worse. They were 13 years ago, anyway.

Like this year's team, the 2000 Phillies went into the season with something like optimism, and ended it in something like abject misery. Unlike this year's team, the 2000 Phillies didn't wait until the All-Star break to completely fall apart: After going 4-4 in their first eight, they never even sniffed .500 again, trading their best player before the deadline and ending the season 32 games under .500. The team's 65 wins were the fewest of any Phils team since 1988. Bad as this year's group has been, they'd still have to go 4-24 the rest of the way to match '00 for futility.

How well do you remember that year's Phillies team? Well, it was obviously a pretty different era for the Fightins--only one player from that year's team remains on the roster in 2013, and he made his Major League debut as a September call-up that year. Different manager, different GM, even a different stadium. But after 12 seasons in between of winning baseball--OK, they technically went 80-81 in '02--the '13 Phils are all but guaranteed to have at least one thing in common with the '00 squad.

So before we figure out where we go from here, let's take a deep dive back into what it was like the last time we had a losing team, and a little bit of how eventually we got out of it. Here's the 700 Level's itemized look back at the 2000 Phillies, with additional remembrances from our go-to crap team historical archivist Dave "Where Is Ben Rivera" Rueter in parentheses at the end of some items. ("The only thing that got me through the Francona years was Monday Night Nitro," says WIBR in summation. "But even then I was still screwed Tuesday – Sunday.")

Great-ish Expectations. The 2000 Phillies weren't expected by many to challenge the Mets or Braves for NL East supremacy, but they did go into the season with a sense of momentum. The team had improved its record from the year before each of the three previous seasons, and with a couple off-season additions--All-Star pitcher Andy Ashby, closer Mike Jackson, recently re-acquired second baseman Mickey Morandini--as well as internal improvement from some of their young stars (Scott Rolen, Bobby Abreu) and a couple highly anticipated rookie callups, the team was at least expected to contend for a winning record, if not the division itself. SI predicted the team would at least finish third in the division, citing the team's "loads of young talent,"  and stating unequivocally, "this team can score."

Things got off to a bad start for the Phils when the pitching staff was hit by injuries early in the season. Staff ace Curt Schilling took a longer time than expected to get healthy from off-season surgery, not making his first start until the end of April, and then posting an ERA over six through his first eight starts. Meanwhile, Jackson, the team's expected closer, felt soreness in his shoulder while warming up for the Phils before what should have been his first appearance of the season, was shut down a week-and-a-half later and didn't pitch an inning that season. 36-year-old Jeff Brantley, expected to be the team's set-up man, was forced into closer duty, and bombed, posting a 5.86 ERA and a 1.681 WHIP in 55 appearances. Brantley would wash out of baseball entirely the next season.

The Three Aces. Not sure if anyone actually called them that at the time, but the Phils had to feel pretty good going into the season with three starting pitchers that had been All-Stars the year before: Curt Schilling, Paul Byrd and the recently signed Andy Ashby. None of the three worked out as hoped. Schilling, as previously mentioned, started the season hurt and then ineffective, before really coming on in mid-June, striking out 11 against the Braves in a 2-1 win and going 5-2 with a 2.00 ERA in eight starts from there. Byrd, who was a mostly undeserving All-Star the year before (and fell apart after the break), continued to be miserable into the '00 season, going 2-9 with a 6.51 ERA in 17 appearances for the Phils before being shut down for injury-related reasons.

And then there was Ashby. The Phils' big trade acquisition--they dealt Adam Eaton and a couple scrubs to get him in the off-season--was coming off two years of being the Padres' ace, including two All-Star appearances and a World Series berth in '98. Ashby was expected to co-anchor the Phils' lineup with Schilling, and in fact got the opening day start for the Phils against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was lit up for six runs in that first start, and improved little from there, going 4-7 with a 5.68 ERA for the Phils on the season. He was traded to the Braves at mid-season, and ended up pitching out of the bullpen for Atlanta in their 2000 NLDS loss to the Cardinals.

(WIBR: "Thanks to a Curt Schilling injury, the Phillies opening day starter was Andy Ashby. When you name Andy Ashby your opening day starter, you may as well just stitch a white flag on to your jerseys. We later traded Ashby to Atlanta for the venerable Bruce Chen, who has slept with half the National League, yet comes out of each relationship as fresh as a daisy.")

The Lightest-Hitting Middle Infield in Baseball. Despite SI's statement about how the Phils "can score," scoring runs was actually sort of a challenge for this team. In fact, over a 14-game stretch in late April that saw the team go 2-12 and essentially lose the division in the season's first month, they only averaged a little over three runs a game, never scoring more than six. They would finish the season with 708 runs, 16th of 16 teams in the National League. (The first-place Rockies finished with 968.)

The Phils had some boppers in the lineup that year, but they also had their fair share of easy outs. Particularly galling in this respect was the team's starting middle infield of Mickey Morandini (.252 BA, 16 XBH in 341 PA) and Desi Relaford (.221 BA, 18 XBH in 313 PA)--which, remarkably, was still way better than their respective backups, Marlon Anderson (.228, 10 XBH in 174 PA) and Alex Arias (.187 BA, 11 XBH in 180 PA). Relaford was traded mid-season to the Padres for a player to be named later (eventually named David Newhan, 27 career PA for Philly), and Morandini, still a beloved Phillie from his first run with the team in the mid-'90s, was traded to the Blue Jays, retiring after the season.

Rolen and Abreu. It wasn't all bad for the Phillies' offense--they did have two legitimate burgeoning young stars in Scott Rolen and Bobby Abreu, 25 and 26 respectively. Rolen batted .298 with 26 homers and good peripherals for the Phils, and won his second gold glove at third base--though for the second straight year, he missed a chunk of the season with injury, this time a strained left ankle. Abreu hit over .300 for the third straight season, nearly matching Rolen with 25 homers, and also stealing 28 bags and drawing an even 100 walks. (No one on the 2013 Phillies has drawn an even 50 walks yet this season.)

Good as Rolen and Abreu's numbers were, neither made the All-Star team or drew a single MVP vote. Then again, this was the very peak of the steroid era, and even though Abreu's numbers are relatively comparable to those of NL MVP front-runner Andrew McCutchen this year, by '00's insanely inflated standards--Colorado's Todd Helton hit .372/.463/.698 and only finished fifth in MVP voting that year--they were merely good.

(WIBR: If you remember, Bobby Abreu didn’t play opening day in 2000, because Randy Johnson was starting for the D-Backs. Francona didn’t want to put Bobby in a lefty/lefty "funk" to begin the year, as if Abreu didn’t have 161 other games to snap out of it. (Those 680 plate appearances get on you in a hurry). Instead, we were treated to a little sum’in, sum’in in RF I call, Kevin Sefcik – who, god bless ‘em, tried. He went 0-3. It’s kind of a bad omen when your best player is healthy, but can’t crack the opening day line-up.)

PAT. THE. BAT. Called up by the Phils in late May, top prospect former #1 overall draft pick Pat Burrell was expected to inject some life into the Phils' turgid offense, filling in for the injured Rico Brogna at first base. He went 2-4 with a triple (!!) in his debut against the Astros, though he quickly proved streaky as a hitter, flirting with the Mendoza Line for much of June, before going on an absolute tear at the end of the month. He finished the season with a .260 average, 18 homers and 79 RBIs (though just the one triple) in 111 games--very respectable numbers for a rook--and finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting, behind Jay Payton, Rick Ankiel and winner Rafael Furcal.

The Schilling Trade. Unfortunately, if you remember the 2000 season primarily for one thing, it was probably the the late-July trade that rid the team of long-time ace Curt Schilling. Schill had been the Phillies' best pitcher for the majority of the '90s, twice striking out 300 batters in a season, leading the league with a .990 WHIP in '92, and of course, helping pitch the Phils into the World Series for the first time in a decade in '93. But by 2000, he had gotten increasingly irritated with the team's losing ways, and with his contract set to expire at the end of the season, the team acknowledged his trade demand and dealt him to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In return, the Phils got pitchers Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa and Vicente Padilla, and first baseman Travis Lee. The Mets were said to be offering a higher-upside collection of talent for Schilling--though the proposed centerpiece of that deal, outfielder Alex Escobar, never panned out in the majors--but Phils GM Ed Wade instead preferred the Diamondbacks' package of major-league-ready players. Indeed, Daal, Padilla and Lee would all become fixtures on the Phils' roster for the remainder of the season, though only Padilla would have any extended impact on the team's fortunes, becoming one of their more reliable starters for the first half of the '00s. (Lee, the prized acquisition of the deal, was a big disappointment--his numbers were decent in '01 but regressed to '02, and the Phils decide to let him walk in free agency to pursue big-name slugger Jim Thome.)

Meanwhile, Schilling would get fully healthy in the off-season, and go on to form the deadliest 1-2 punch in 21st century baseball out in Arizona with co-ace Randy Johnson, finishing runner-up in the Cy Young voting twice (both times to Johnson) and splitting the World Series MVP (again, with Johnson) in the Diamondbacks' legendary '01 Series victory over the Yankees. Philly baseball would not see a starter near Schilling's equal on the mound for at least another seven years.

A much less impactful, but far more amusing deadline deal. Ed Wade extremely busy on the phones in July and August of the '00 season, as it became clear what a lost season it would be for the Phillies. The Ashby deal started off the fire sale, then Schilling a few weeks later, and before the deadline, Relaford, Morandini and veteran first baseman Ron Gant were all moved as well. But the most historically interesting of the trades would have to be those involving outfielder Rob Ducey, who was first traded to the Blue Jays for what eventually turned out to be minor-league pitcher John Sneed. Ten days later, however, when Toronto wanted to deal for Morandini, they shipped Ducey right back, after just five games in a Blue Jays uniform.

"It's value for value," joked Wade at the time. "Their tools are very similar. The guy we got in return is a little older. But he's got less left on his contract. So it's a good tradeoff." Har. Teammate Doug Glanville compared the situation to the Kevin Bacon thriller Hollow Man ("He was actually here the whole time. We just didn't know it"), which should give you a pretty good idea of just how long ago 2000 was. Ducey lost his apartment and his locker in the interim, but was pleasantly surprised to find that his jersey was still available, at least. He hit .222 for the Phils the remainder of the season and was released halfway through the next season.

(WIBR: When I first learned that the Phillies acquired Rob Ducey for Mickey Morandini, I assumed that we had traded for Rob Duceỳ, the hard-throwing French Canadian reliever who had been overpowering hitters in Class A Dunedin. Yet, there I was, just days later, watching our very own Rob Ducey patrol left field again, like a college kid still hanging around his old high school.)

One true highlight. There weren't a lot of exciting wins for the 2000 Phillies--there weren't all that many wins, period--but they did get a good one on August 27th, when Bobby Abreu stepped to the plate in the tenth inning of a 1-1 game against the San Francisco Giants at the Vet. Abreu smashed a fly ball to deep center that ended up caroming off the glove of the leaping outfielder Calvin Murray. Abreu, who had considerable wheels in those days, ended up beating the relay throw from short for a walk-off inside-the-park home run--the first such occurrence since Derek Jeter in '96--much to the excitement of Harry Kalas.

"If you can't get excited about that game, you're comatose," said manager Terry Francona afterwards. Verily.

Randy, Robert and BRUUUUUUUUUUCE. Though the Phils' pitching staff was rife with disappointments throughout the '00 season, it was not without its pleasant surprises. Second-year starter Randy Wolf would be the only pitcher on the team to reach double-digit wins, going 11-9 with a 4.36 ERA in a team-high 32 starts, and would serve as one of the Phils' better starters for the next half-decade. 30-year-old righty Robert Person had the best season of his career to that point, going 9-7 with a team high 164 strikeouts. And the almighty Bruce Chen, brought over in the mid-season Ashby deal, far outpitched his predecessor, posting a 3.63 ERA and a 3:1 K/BB ratio.

Wolf and Person would also, along with Vicente Padilla, be the Phillies to indirectly inspire the start of player-specific fan groups popping up at the Vet--the Wolf Pack, Person's People, the Padilla Flotilla, etc.--which would help foster fan excitement (of some variety, anyway) during the team's non-contending years in the '00s. And against all odds, Chen continues to get around more than 2Pac or Brian Wilson, currently the owner of a 6-2 record and a sub-3.00 ERA for the 2013 Kansas City Royals, his tenth team in the majors.

Omar Daal and the Quest to Avoid #20. Omar Daal twice took the hill for the Fightins in late September--against the Mets on the 21st, and then the Cubs five days later--with the chance to make some seriously ignominious baseball history. Coming over to the Phils in July's Schilling mega-deal, Daal brought with him a 2-10 record from Arizona, which he then augmented with a 1-9 start to his Phillies career. 20 losses in baseball is far rarer than even 20 wins, and had he picked up L #20, he would've been the first pitcher to hit the benchmark since Brian Kingman did it for the A's in 1980.

Luckily, Daal persevered in both starts, giving up just three combined runs over 12 innings--Daal's last six starts for the Phils were all quality outings--and he even picked up his fourth win of the season in the final game against the Cubs. Three seasons later, lefty Mike Maroth would break the streak of seasons without a 20-game loser, going 9-21 for a historically abysmal Tigers team.

(WIBR: Along with Chen, Paul Byrd and the newly acquired Omar Daal (“The Daal House”) ate some innings at the back end of the rotation.

“Daaly left the ball up early on, but then he really settled.”

“Byrdy probably threw a couple of pitches that he wants back.”

But when you collectively go 4-18, you’re not so much eating innings, but rather Eaton innings.)

The final damage. The Phils ended the 2000 season with a 65-97 record, 30 games back in the NL East, and tied with the Cubs for the worst record in the whole NL. They finished last in the league in runs, homers and slugging percentage, and second-to-last in batting average, hits, and OPS. (Their pitching numbers were a little better--they finished just 11 out of 16 in ERA, and actually had the fifth-highest strikeout tally in the league.) Their winning percentage was the lowest of any Phillies team since the '72 squad--the one where Steve Carlton cemented his pitching legacy by winning 27 games for a 59-win team.

Someone had to be the fall guy for the season's crushing disappointment, and as with this year's squad, the manager got the axe. Terry Francona was fired at the end of the 2000 season after four straight losing campaigns, and replaced by former Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa, who would win Manager of the Year in his very first campaign for the Fightins. "It's been a difficult year,'' Francona said. "And when you have difficult years, the manager gets fired. I understand that.'' (Of course, Tito went on to far greater glory as the two-time World Series-winning steward of the Boston Red Sox, and he's currently patrolling the bench for the Cleveland Indians, trying to squeeze them into the AL Wild Card hunt.)

Hope for the (middle infield of the) future. A bright spot for the Phils as they played out the string in September was the call-up of 21-year-old shortstop James Calvin Rollins, a second-round pick of the team in 1996. Rollins played in just 14 games, but flashed some of his potential, hitting .321 with five RBIs and three steals over that period. J-Roll would really make his presence felt in 2001, his proper rookie season, where he would lead the entire league in steals (46) and triples (12), making the All-Star team, finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting (losing to a couple perennial All Stars-to-be, Albert Pujols and Roy Oswalt), and even getting some down-ballot MVP consideration. Still on the team in 2013, of course, Rollins currently ranks in the top five in franchise history in games, hits, runs, steals and total bases.

Perhaps even more importantly, in the June 2000 MLB draft, the Phillies would select second baseman Chase Cameron Utley out of UCLA with the 15th pick of the first round. Utley would make his debut for the Phils in 2003, eventually becoming their full-time second baseman in 2005 with the mid-season trade of starter Placido Polanco. He would make the All-Star team the next five seasons and, along with Rollins, Burrell and a handful of others, make up the core of the most successful era ever of Phillies baseball at the end of the decade.

Will the post-2013 Phillies eventually reach such a rosy end? It's hard to really draw too many parallels between the two squads here--really, the 2000 Phillies had more in common (in terms of intent, at least) with this year's rip-it-up-and-start again Sixers squad, dealing nearly every veteran they had in the hopes of starting over with a younger, cheaper, hopefully higher-upside roster. Michael Young would never have survived to September on the '11 Phillies, and Cliff Lee might've gotten the boot as well. But the rosters were pretty different in construction even at season's beginning--the '00 Phillies were a up-and-coming team that simply faltered trying to take the next step, whereas the '13 Phillies are a fading team that's probably trying too hard to hang on to the glory days.

Still, you could look at the '00 Phillies and say that you can't ever be sure the next franchise-defining players are going to come from. Most fans would've bet the farm at century's beginning that Rolen and Abreu would be the cornerstones of the next great Phils team, not Rollins, whose stats in the minors were good but never great, or Utley, who wasn't even the highest-selected second baseman from California in his draft class. (That would be the mythical Shaun Boyd, a career minor-leaguer from Oceanside.) By the time the Fightins were contending for the playoffs again, both Rolen and Abreu were long gone, without even returning much in their outgoing trades to help the team's efforts.

Could Cody Asche, Maikel Franco and Domonic Brown end up as the next Rollins, Utley and Burrell? Probably not, but it'll be the task of the next few Phils teams to find out who will be, and to do some serious cleaning out of inessential players in the meantime until we find them. And if there's one way to take comfort in the story of the '00s Phillies, it's that the 2001 Phillies would turn things around to the tune of an 86-76 record--a 21-game improvement over the year before. In baseball, the potential for redemption is rarely more than a season away.

Jason Kelce ignoring trade rumors as he tries to work on himself

Jason Kelce ignoring trade rumors as he tries to work on himself

Jason Kelce is aware of the rumors and reports that have surrounded his name this offseason. 

As much as he might try to avoid them, the Eagles' veteran center does not, presumably, live under a rock. So he's heard for months about the possibility of his long run with the Eagles coming to a close. 

After all, the Eagles have stockpiled an abundance of interior offensive linemen who can play center, and trading Kelce would save the team $3.8 million in cap space. 

So it all makes sense, but Kelce is trying to keep it out of his mind. 

"I think you'll drive yourself crazy if you're reading too much into what's going on," he said on Tuesday as the Eagles kicked off their voluntary OTAs. "My whole offseason has just kind of been really the only thing I can control is my game and the way I play and what I've been doing. So I've just really tried to hit the weight room, work on technique, work on things to try to get my game back to where it used to be."

How is he able to put it out of his mind? 

"Because worrying about it doesn't do any good," he answered.

While the Eagles have Isaac Seumalo and Stefen Wisniewski ready to play center if necessary, head coach Doug Pederson said on Tuesday that Kelce is still "the guy." 

Kelce, 29, was named to his second career Pro Bowl team last season, which might be a surprise to those who watched the Eagles throughout the year. Kelce wasn't as bad as some people think but he also probably wasn't a Pro Bowl-caliber player. 

He got off to a very slow start in 2016 but did seem to get better as the season went on.  

"I feel at times last year, there were times I was dominant and games where I didn't really do a great job," he said. "You go back and watch film and try to make the corrections, try to make sure that moving forward I'm the same player I was in the past."

A lot of his problems early in the season last year, the veteran has attributed to lousy technique. He's been trying extra hard to work on that part of his game as well as in the weight room. 

The center, often characterized as undersized, said he weighed 295 pounds on Tuesday morning. That's also his listed weight on the Eagles' website. 

All last season, Kelce said he played in the 290s, which was heavier than he had been in a long time. His goal this offseason is to make it up to 300 pounds by training camp and then hopes to keep the weight on. 

"I would certainly think so," he said. "As you get older, it gets a little bit easier to put on the weight and hold it on. I think everybody kind of finds that out."

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Eagles to keep Kelce around this season is the development of quarterback Carson Wentz in his second year. Kelce, as his center, might be integral to Wentz's growth. Although Kelce said he doesn't think of it like that when asked if that relationship gives him an advantage over others.  

Kelce has been with the Eagles since 2011 when he was a sixth-round pick out of Cincinnati. He's played and started 78 games in six seasons. 

During last season, Kelce admitted he needed to play better or he knew he would become expendable (see story). So the rumors and reports this season likely aren't a shock to him. 

He's still not going to pay attention to them. 

"The reality is, we always have guys coming in, coming out," he said. "Now we happen to have a lot of really good depth at interior line. But like I said, it doesn't do me any good worrying about the what-ifs. All I can control is what I can control and that's how I go out and play, how I go out and prepare and how I try to get back to the player I've been in the past." 

Phillies-Rockies 5 things: Phils turn to Zach Eflin to stop the bleeding

Phillies-Rockies 5 things: Phils turn to Zach Eflin to stop the bleeding

Phillies (15-27) vs. Rockies (29-17)
7:05 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

The Phillies were supposed to take a step forward in 2017. Pete Mackanin went out on a limb when he said before the season that he thought they could be close to a .500 team, and so far they've fallen well short of that expectation.

At 15-27, the Phillies are on pace to go 58-104, an even worse record than 2015, the year of Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, etc.

They hope to stop the profuse bleeding tonight against the Rockies, who can't lose on the road lately.

1. Franco and Saunders sit
Looking for some more offense, or just a different approach, Mackanin is sitting Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders tonight in favor of Andres Blanco and Ty Kelly (see lineup).

Franco has actually been hitting a bit more in May, picking up a hit in nine straight games before going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts Monday. Still, he's hitting just .221 with a .281 on-base percentage, and his .657 OPS is 27 percent below the league average.

Saunders just hasn't done much with the Phillies. He's hitting .227/.273/.383 with four homers and 15 RBIs, and he's struck out 35 times in 150 plate appearances. Two of those four homers came in games that were already decided.

It's a rare start for Blanco, just his fifth of the season. Coming mostly off the bench the last four seasons, he's been a consistent hitter for the Phillies, batting .270/.333/.449 with 43 doubles, four triples and 13 home runs in 559 plate appearances, essentially a full season's worth.

2. Eflin's turn
Mackanin's hope is that with Aaron Nola back from the DL, Jeremy Hellickson appearing to turn a corner and Zach Eflin giving the Phils some consistent innings, the starting rotation can get into a groove, thus helping out the bullpen and giving the Phillies a chance to win more close games the way they did in 2016.

Jerad Eickhoff was just OK last night, allowing four runs in six innings as he dropped to 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA. A quality start tonight from Eflin against a strong Rockies lineup would go a long way because the Phillies really need more than half of their rotation to be clicking right now.

Eflin was rocked his last start in Texas, allowing seven runs on 11 hits and two walks over four innings. It caused his ERA to rise from 2.81 to 4.25 and his WHIP from 1.00 to 1.25.

As is usually the case when Eflin doesn't pitch well, he just wasn't getting his sinker low enough in the zone. He had induced 40 groundballs over his previous three starts before picking up just eight against the Rangers. 

An interesting note on Eflin is that he's struck out just five of the 70 right-handed hitters he's faced compared to 13 of the 85 lefties he's seen. Righties have hit .323 off him with a .798 OPS compared to .250 with a .715 OPS from lefties.

Current Rockies are 3 for 16 off Eflin with just one extra-base hit. He faced Colorado last season at Coors Field and gave up just two runs over six innings.

3. An unlikely start
Unlike most seasons, the Rockies are pitching well and winning on the road. Colorado has gotten off to hot starts almost every year the last five, but it's usually fueled by an unsustainably hot offense. 

Hasn't been the case in 2017. The Rockies are middle of the pack with a 4.29 ERA, a half-run lower than the Phillies. And away from Coors Field, they have a 3.45 ERA, the second-lowest road ERA for any team behind the Diamondbacks.

The run has been credited to a young starting staff that has been missing projected No. 1 Jon Gray. We saw former first-round pick Jeff Hoffman dominate the Phillies last night (seven innings, three hits, one run, seven strikeouts) and tonight the Phils face 22-year-old German Marquez (2-2, 4.34).

One of the biggest difference-makers for the Rockies in 2017 has been closer Greg Holland, who signed a prove-it deal with Colorado coming off a major injury. He has 19 saves and a 0.96 ERA in 20 appearances and has earned himself a whole of money this winter.

4. The book on Marquez 
The Rockies acquired Marquez along with left-handed reliever Jake McGee in the January 2016 trade that sent Corey Dickerson to the Rays, where he's thrived.

Marquez made just a handful of appearances in the majors last season but has been solid for the Rockies in five starts so far this year. 

He throws pretty much all four-seam fastballs (65 percent) and curveballs (24 percent), with his heater averaging 95.1 mph. He'll also mix in a few changeups to lefties and cutters.

In two starts away from Coors Field, Marquez has allowed just one run in 11 innings with 11 strikeouts. He's kept the ball in the park in four of five starts.

5. This and that
• Good to see Aaron Altherr pick up two doubles last night. He was 6 for his previous 33.

• Tommy Joseph in May: .345/.418/.707, six doubles, five homers, 13 RBIs. 

• Since beginning the season on an eight-game hitting streak, Odubel Herrera has hit .207 with a .246 OBP, six walks and 35 strikeouts.

• Daniel Nava was placed on the 10-day DL with a hamstring strain suffered Friday in Pittsburgh. LHP Adam Morgan was recalled again from Triple A to take his place on the active roster.