Anderson fine-tuning plane of pitches

Thriving at Triple-A, Marquez could make Majors start soon

Anderson fine-tuning plane of pitches

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson worked on some mechanical flaws on a rainy Sunday morning, hoping that he can shine Wednesday when he starts against the Dodgers.

Anderson is 1-2 with an 8.59 ERA through three starts, a rough opening after he went 5-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 19 outings as a rookie in 2016. Manager Bud Black watched Sunday's session closely, along with pitching coach Steve Foster and bullpen coach Darren Holmes, and there was plenty of coaching.

Black said the difference between this year and last, when Anderson consistently forced weak contact, is the downward tilt of the pitches. It's not as great this year, which means hitters can match the plane of the pitch and hit balls harder. According to Statcast™, his ground-ball rate had dropped from 53.3 percent in 2016 to 37.5 percent this year. Combined on his fastball and changeup, the ground-ball rate has dropped from 36.6 percent to 31.3 percent.

"There are a couple things on the mechanics side that we were talking to Andy about -- me, Holmie and Fostie identified some things we want to put into play physically," Black said. "Stand a little taller, shorten his stride just a touch and create a little more angle, which I think the guys said had a little bit more of last year. Over time, his stride has lengthened."

Worth noting

• Righty German Marquez bordered on dominant for 50 pitches -- 3 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts -- Saturday night at Triple-A Albuquerque vs. Tacoma. If he does as well in his next outing, Thursday when he's scheduled to throw 75-80 pitches, he would be in line for the likely next available Major League start, on April 25 at home against the Nationals.

But things can be adjusted depending on what else happens. Righty Jeff Hoffman, another candidate for a promotion, will pitch for Albuquerque on Sunday.

• In his 5-0 shutout performance against the Giants on Saturday, Rockies righty Tyler Chatwood threw 12 curveballs among his 105 total pitches, roughly 11 percent. He had been throwing about 4 percent in 2016, his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in '14, and through the first couple starts this year.

Black said hesitating to throw the curveball was understandable, but Chatwood is past that. Chatwood has a fastball, a cutter/slider and a changeup, and the curve is "a very good pitch," Black said.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.