By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
West Ranch alumnus Jake Bird is having quite the start to his major league career. Since being called up by the Rockies on June 11, Bird has shined in his three appearances.
In his first week of action, Bird has thrown four innings, allowed one hit and struck out five.
The reliever debuted at home against the Cleveland Guardians on June 16, where he threw a 10-pitch perfect inning to keep Colorado in the game.
Bird was most excited about making his debut alongside his longtime teammate Sean Bouchard.
The pair have played together at the Rockies’ AAA affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, as well as playing together back at UCLA.
“I was more excited to hear him get called up than I was for myself,” said Bird.
The rookie’s debut earned him a green light just a day later as Bird again was sent to the mound in the ninth inning.
The game was in hand this time as the Rockies were coasting on a 10-4 lead over the Padres. Bird would still not give up anything easy and again retired the side.
The right-hander got his first major league strikeout against Ha-Seong Kim to lead off the inning. Bird ended his day with a strikeout of right fielder Nomar Mazara to end the game. Mazara was hitting .350 going into the at-bat.
Bird was finally trusted in a multi-inning role in his third appearance, but his first on the road. The reliever entered a tie game at Miami following a three-run inning from his offense. He again threw a perfect first inning, fanning two Marlins in Jorge Soler and Garrett Cooper.
The Rockies couldn’t get anyone on base in the top of the seventh, leaving the win potentially in the grasp of the Wildcat.
Bird gave up his first major league hit on a leadoff double from Avisail Garcia. Completely unphased, he would strike out his next batter, Jesus Sanchez. Bird then retired his next two opponents, stranding Sanchez and keeping Colorado in the game.
The rookie was still only at 24 pitches, more than doubling totals from each of his first two outings. Rockies manager Buck Black made the call to pull Bird with the top of the order, who had mostly faced Bird, coming up. Colorado would lose the game in the eighth.
Bird has the best ERA in baseball with a clean zero and is yet to have a base runner touch third. He is also yet to walk a batter.
The Rockies are in need of help everywhere as they currently sit in last in the NL West. However, the emergence of Bird may give Black a little peace of mind when calling the bullpen.