The Colorado Rockies' Austin Gomber returns to the mound Tuesday in search of the form that saw him go 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in four starts in June.
The left-hander will face the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., in his second start since spending nearly five weeks on the injured list becauseof tightness in his left forearm. Gomber (7-5, 3.74 ERA) returned from the IL on Wednesday and ran his winning streak to four with a victory over the Seattle Mariners.
However, he wasn't quite as crisp as before the injury. He gave up only three hits in six innings, but all three hits were solo home runs. Gomber struck out three and walked one while yielding just the three runs.
"I executed pitches just like I did before I went on the IL, just not at as consistent a clip," he said. "The last couple times out (before the injury), I was not really walking guys. Not only not walking guys, but I felt I was in pitchers' counts the whole time. (Against Seattle), I was kind of the opposite.
"But I was able to make the pitch to get the outs."
One factor vital to Gomber's success is his ability to keep his pitch count down, which helps him pitch deeper into the game. That comes from his aggressive nature, going after hitters and throwing strikes.
"The way I pitch, the way I attack, honestly for me, pitch count should never be an issue for me if I'm doing what I'm trying to do," Gomber said. "That's attack the zone, throw a lot of strikes, mix it up with four different pitches."
Gomber, who has never faced the Angels, will be matched up Tuesday against Angels lefty Jose Suarez, who will make just his fourth start of the season after pitching well out of the bullpen. In nine relief appearances, Suarez was 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings.
That earned him a spot in the rotation, where he has gone 1-2 with a 4.61 ERA this month.
"He's showing you why you can consider him a major league starter," Angels manager Joe Maddon said. "He's going to gain more confidence as you continue to move forward."
Suarez has never faced the Rockies.
Colorado's Joshua Fuentes started at third base Monday in place of Ryan McMahon (left leg tightness), and he could get another start Tuesday if McMahon isn't ready. Fuentes went 0-for-4 Monday, extending his hitless streak to 16 at-bats, as he works his way through mechanical issues.
"I've been thinking too much about what my body is doing instead of trying to hit the pitch," Fuentes said. "It's taken some adjustment. I'm trying to simplify so there's not so much thinking involved.
"These guys are major league pitchers and they're carving me up right now. But it's not over."
The status of Angels first baseman Jared Walsh for Tuesday's game is uncertain. He had to leave Monday's game following the seventh inning after sustaining a side injury.
--Field Level Media