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Diamondbacks Miller hopes to continue progression vs. Rockies

Sports Xchange
11 Jul 2018, 15:30 GMT+10

DENVER -- Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Shelby Miller will take the mound Wednesday at Coors Field and take what he hopes will be another step forward in his fourth start since returning from Tommy John surgery.

Colorado Rockies right-hander German Marquez (7-8, 4.92 ERA), coming off superb starts in back-to-back wins, will oppose Miller (0-3, 9.00).

Arizona's 5-3 win on Tuesday gave them nine straight wins over the Rockies at Coors Field, the Rockies longest losing streak at that venue against any opponent. The Rockies lost 11 straight games to the Atlanta Braves in 1993 and 1994 at Mile High Stadium, where they played their first two seasons before moving into Coors Field in 1995.

Miller underwent Tommy John surgery on May 10, 2017, and made his 2018 debut on June 25. In three starts, Miller has thrown 14 innings -- 3 2/3 in his initial outing, followed by five and 5 1/3 innings -- with five walks, 18 strikeouts and 20 hits allowed, including four homers.

"All that to me was to be expected," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "You don't think somebody's going to come in after Tommy John and after missing 14 months, just start lighting (it) up again. It's going to be a little bit of a process. But the one encouraging thing we've seen from Shelby is he's improving every game from his first outing to his third outing.

"He's simplified his game plan, and he's going out and executing a very aggressive game plan. He's showing success in spurts, and we know that's going to be a certain amount of time before it's very, very consistent."

In his last start Thursday against San Diego, Miller gave up two runs in the first five innings before allowing three runs (two unearned) in the sixth, the final one an inherited runner he turned over to the bullpen.

"The line score can look very deceiving," Lovullo said. "But the five innings were very impressive."

"Eliminating bigger innings is probably really the only thing I need to do," Miller said. "Everything else stuff-wise and velocity-wise is all great. Really just kind of piecing the puzzle together a little bit more.

"I know what I'm capable of when it comes to pitching and helping teams win and especially since this is my third year here. I was hurt last year most of the time, and in '16, I didn't pitch very well. So, I owe it to myself and my teammates and the city of Phoenix to go out and have a good season. I'm hungry for that, and it's all about getting better each time."

Miller is 2-4 with a 5.94 ERA in nine starts against the Rockies.

Marquez is 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Diamondbacks, including his first outing this year on March 31 at Chase Field where he allowed one unearned run in five innings in a no-decision. He is 0-4 with a 4.47 ERA in nine career appearances, including eight starts, against Colorado.

Marquez is 2-5 with a 7.93 ERA in nine starts at Coors Field this season and 5-3, 2.62 in nine road starts. He won his past two starts, at the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle, allowing two runs in 14 innings in those games with no walks and 14 strikeouts.

Two days after being named an All-Star for the first time, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story tied his career-high Tuesday with his fifth consecutive multi-hit game.

Story, who went 2-for-5 with a double, raised his average to .286 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs. Since June 1, Story has hit .353 (49-for-139) with six homers and 23 RBIs.

"He's been driving in runs, but yet his defense has been off the charts," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "I've seen him diving, making backhand plays, throws on the run. He's just been really consistent. And that's been huge. We need him. We need him big.

"Last year when he was struggling, it hurt us. He's been huge for us this year. Without him, we could really be out of this race quickly, given what he's done. He's changed the game on both sides of the ball. If we didn't have him changing the game on both sides of the ball, it'd be tough."

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