On Tuesday night, the Dodgers are set to take on Rockies starter Germán Márquez for the 17th time in his career. The right hander is coming off of a solid first start of the season where he went six innings allowing two runs and striking out five against the Padres. This game will be taking place in LA which bodes well for Márquez who has a lifetime ERA of 3.75 on the road compared to his 5.08 at Coors Field. Down below we are going to break down what the 28-year-old has in his arsenal.
Pitch #1: four-seam fastball, 29.8 percent usage rate
2022 stats - .274 xBA, .435 xSLG, .359 xwOBA
Average velo - 95.6 mph - Spin rate - 2,138 RPM - vertical movement - 16.6 inches - horizontal movement - 8.9 inches
Despite throwing this the most, the metrics on it are simply put, really poor. Hitters have no problem handling it at the dish as we can see in the expected metrics and the fact, he allowed 24 extra base hits with it in 2022. The only time Márquez truly relied on this pitch last season was in 3 ball counts where he threw it 42.7 percent of the time. He is able to throw it routinely for strikes as it’s zone percentage sits at 59.8 percent, his highest mark with any pitch last season. When swung at in the strike zone he is unable to generate many whiffs as its zone whiff percentage is at a small 14.4 percent. I’d say expect for Márquez to throw this pitch less on Tuesday especially against the time of the order, but honestly, I do not see that happening.
Pitch #2: sinker, 24.2 percent usage rate
2022 stats - .330 xBA, .532 xSLG, .397 xwOBA
Average velo - 95.1 mph - Spin rate - 2,111 RPM - vertical movement - 21.0 inches - horizontal movement - 14.3 inches
This pitch somehow graded out as significantly worse than his four seamer. It is his go-to ground ball pitch as it has a launch angle against of 3 degrees and ground ball percentage of 57.7 percent. Besides that, though, it’s a bad pitch. Hitters whiffed at it on just 10.1 percent of swings last year and it featured a put away percentage of 4.8 percent. The average exit velocity against it was 92.7 mph and the hard-hit percentage (batted balls 95+ mph) was 57.1 percent. Expect the lefties in the lineup to see this pitch a little bit more than the righties as he threw it 398 times to lefties last season compared to 290 against righties.
Pitch #3: knuckle curve, 22.1 percent usage rate
2022 stats - .162 xBA, .264 xSLG, .198 xwOBA
Average velo - 86.5 mph - Spin rate - 2,577 RPM - vertical movement - 38.3 inches (4.4 inches below average) - horizontal movement - 1.1 inches (3 inches below average)
The knuckle curve is by far Márquez’s best pitch based on the numbers. It carries his highest whiff rate with any pitch at 37.3 percent and his highest put away mark at 25.3 percent. He understandably throws it out of the zone at any extremely high rate of 64.9 percent with the intention of getting batters to chase, which they do 38.1 percent of the time. When batters did chase, they whiffed at it 63.9 percent of the time, which was tied for his highest mark last season. If Márquez is to have any success against this Dodgers lineup, his knuckle curve is going to have to be on all night.
Pitch #4: slider, 20.9 percent usage rate
2022 stats - .253 xBA, .459 xSLG, .344 xwOBA
Average velo - 87.7 mph - Spin rate - 2,389 RPM - vertical movement - 31.1 inches - horizontal movement - 0.3 inches (3.3 inches)
Márquez’s slider is an okay offering but is nothing special. It produced his lowest average exit velocity against, at 87 mph. Like his knuckle curve though, this pitch was largely thrown to generate chases and whiffs. Its chase percentage was his second highest number with any pitch at 34.3 percent and its chase whiff rate was also 63.9 percent. I think Márquez is going to throw this pitch at a slightly higher mark against the Dodgers as he threw it 26.4 percent of the time against the San Diego Padres on opening day.
I did not include his changeup, as he threw that only 3 percent of the time in 2022.
Key matchup to watch: David Peralta
It’s easy to point at the likes of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman being the focal points for this, and that’s more than fair. However, off-season concerns about the Dodgers lineup potentially lacking length still remain. Peralta, who batted sixth in his two starts so far this season, is going to have to find success against Márquez, a pitcher he is 16 for 49 against lifetime with five doubles and two homers, hitting .327/.377/.551.
Márquez throws 4 ⅔ innings, allowing four earned runs with four strikeouts.