When Rockies shortstop Jose Iglesias entered the batting box in the second inning at Coors Field Friday afternoon, he had 3,331 career at-bats and 923 hits.
One more hit would usually not matter. But when he hit an RBI single to cross Dodgers right-hander Walker Buehler to tag Connor Joe, Iglesias’ tears started to flow.
“I lost my dad a few weeks ago and that was the first success he couldn’t see,” said Iglesias, who is entering his 11th major league season. “It was for him. It was a very emotional moment for him. He’s a big part of my life and my career.
Iglesias said his Cuban-born father, Candelario, always dreamed of his son playing at the majors.
“He watched me play for 10 years, so I’m very lucky,” he said. “He’s in a better place now. I am who I am thanks to him.
The shortstop hadn’t expected his emotions to overwhelm him.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” he said. “As soon as I hit that ball, the first thing that came to mind was my dad. He watched every game.”
Iglesias’ father worked in a factory in Cuba, raising a large family.
“He worked hard but he didn’t make any money,” Iglesias said. “He was making $10 a month. But he never gave up, and no matter how tired he was, he always took me to the (baseball) field.
Lawrence loves performance. Right-hander Justin Lawrence was sent to Triple-A on April 2, but a COVID-induced roster change brought the young sidearmer back to the major league roster on Wednesday.
Lawrence took the opportunity on opening day with a strong impression on his season debut.
He threw a clear eighth and ninth, knocking out all six Dodgers he faced, including two strikeouts. His stability gave the Rockies a chance to recover in the 5-3 loss.
“The emotions came from being able to be part of that opening day, my first opening day, and having my family there in the stands,” Lawrence said. “The baseball side was just doing what I know how to do – stay balanced, stay comfortable and run pitches to give the team the best chance to get back there in the end.”
Lawrence can still hit in the upper 90s with his fastball, but mostly threw off-speed Friday (11 sliders on nine fastballs) to unbalance the Dodgers. The 27-year-old is looking to bounce back in 2022 from the 8.64 ERA he posted in 19 games last year.
Child from Colorado. Regis Jesuit graduate Ty Blach, who has been with the club as a longtime reliever and starter, said he was “beyond thrilled” to be on the Rockies’ opening day roster.
“I used to come to every opening day as a fan,” he said. “As a child, I came to 30 or 40 games every season.”
Blach said his memories came flooding back when he looked up at the stands.
“We always sat in the front row, section 203,” he said.
Bryant’s debut. New left fielder Kris Bryant, who signed a seven-year, $182 million contract to come to Colorado, recorded his first hit as a Rockie, a brace late in the fifth inning against Dodgers starter Walker Buehler . Bryant reached base in his first appearance at home plate, drawing a walk.
On the bridge
Dodgers RHP Tony Gonsolin (15-13, 3.23 ERA in 2021) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (12-11, 4.40)
6:10 p.m. Saturday, Coors Field
Marquez was Colorado’s only star player last season and was very impressive at Coors Field, going 8-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 18 starts — 11 of them quality — while limiting opponents to one. average of 0.214. The right-hander scored a hit in the ninth inning against the Pirates on June 29, before allowing a first single to Ka’ai Tom. In 13 career starts against Los Angeles, Marquez is 2-1 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.239 WHIP.
As always, the Dodgers’ rotation is deep and Gonsolin is a prime example of that. In 35 league games (27 starts), he has a 2.85 ERA and 148 strikeouts to just 56 walks. He has a career 1.09 WHIP and held the opposition to .192/.273/.330 slashline. He last faced Colorado on July 24 at Dodger Stadium, tossing 5 1/3 innings scoreless, allowing two hits and striking out seven. He faced the Rockies four times, going 1- 1 with a 1.79 ERA and .69 WHIP, with 28 strikeouts to just three walks.
Tendency : Left-hander Kyle Freeland allowed five runs on five hits in 3 2/3 innings Friday, the shortest start to Opening Day by a Rockies pitcher since 2016 when Jordan Lyles pitched 3 1/3 innings against San Diego in a 13-6 Colorado loss.
A tissue: The Rockies, who struggled with runners in scoring position last season, were 3 for 12 on Friday.
Sunday: Dodgers LHP Julio Urias (20-3, 2.96) at Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (4-10, 4.42), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Monday: Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (9-9, 4.53) at Rangers Taylor Hearn (6-6, 4.66), 2:05 p.m., ATTRM
Tuesday: Rockies Chad Kuhl (5-7, 4.82) at Rangers TBA, 6:05 p.m., ATTRM