Marco Gonzales stepped onto the mound in a visiting ballpark that felt like home.
About 100 friends and family members were in attendance at Coors Field against the Rockies Wednesday night in the Seattle Mariners, starting pitcher. They all came to see the local kid who made it big.
“There are definitely more nerves than this whole season,” Gonzales said.
You couldn’t tell for sure.
Gonzales—the winner of four Class 5A state baseball championships at Rocky Mountain High School (2007–10)—earned his first MLB pitching victory at Coors Field. He allowed two earned runs in five innings with three strikes.
It also marked Gonzales’ first pitching victory since becoming the new father. Their daughter, Grace, arrived on June 26. Gonzales said: “It’s hard to be disappointed when you come home to a newborn.”
The maturity of one of Colorado’s greatest prep baseball players certainly made his old coach smile.
“Just pure joy. I’m very proud of that,” said longtime Rockies baseball coach Scott Bullock. “But also, don’t be surprised. Ever since I met Marco and saw him pitch for the first time, I was like: ‘Man, this kid has a chance to be a big leaguer.’ He just had the it-factor. ”
There was no denying Gonzales’ ability in high school as the starting pitcher in each of his team’s four state title games. The Cardinals drafted him (Gonzaga) No. 19 overall in 2013 before his trade to Seattle. Last season, Gonzales established himself as the Mariners’ ace at 7-2 with a 3.10 ERA.
Not even by power. His fastball velocity tops the low-90s. Last season, he kept the hitters off-balance with a devastating turnaround and a better cutter. But Gonzales hasn’t been the same pitcher this season.
The southpaw spent the entire May with a left forearm strain on the injured list, and then missed three more weeks in June/July on paternity leave. Gonzales is 2-5 in 2021 with a 5.69 ERA.
His father, Frank, is a pitching coach in the Rockies minor league system (Double-A Hartford).
“You want to be able to come back and find your best delivery,” said Frank Gonzales. “It takes time to do that, or an outing or two. He’s in a good spot right now. He can come out and definitely have a good second half.”
Gonzales took an important step forward against the Rockies. But balancing family and baseball on a quick two-game series at Coors Field wasn’t easy.
“Yesterday was tough,” Gonzales said. “I had to side-step a bunch of plans and, unfortunately, didn’t see a bunch of people I’d like to see — who I haven’t seen in at least a year and a half. My grandparents were here, aunts, uncles , cousins, my mom and my brothers. Seeing about 100 people in the stands I came back inside. To be able to be back here and pitch in front of my family is a real special thing.
“Something about it just feels so right.”