The Colorado Rockies have struggled offensively during their longest road skid in almost two years, including 15 straight scoreless innings in their latest setback.
They might not need a breakout performance at the plate with Brett Anderson looking to extend his positive stretch.
The left-hander looks to win consecutive starts for the first time in nearly two years while keeping the Rockies from dropping their ninth straight on the road Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs.
The Rockies pushed across three first-inning runs but couldn’t score another as their losing ways away from Coors Field continued in Tuesday’s 4-3, 16-inning loss – the longest contest in both Colorado and Chicago’s franchise history.
”When you go 15 innings without scoring a run, you don’t deserve to win,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
They’ve totaled 18 runs and hit .196 with runners in scoring position during their longest road slide since September 2012 after going 1 for 8 in those situations in the second of this four-game series at Wrigley Field.
Colorado is playing without injured NL batting leader Troy Tulowitzki, though Justin Morneau made an immediate impact with a two-run double in his first at-bat after missing 10 games with a strained neck.
Now the NL-worst Rockies (43-63) will try to avoid their 15th loss in 16 road games as Anderson (1-3, 3.24 ERA) attempts to build on outstanding efforts in his past two starts.
Following a rough outing in his return from a three-month absence due to a fractured left index finger, Anderson allowed one run with a season-best eight strikeouts over seven innings in a 3-2, 11-inning loss at Pittsburgh on July 19.
On Friday, he gave up two hits over 6 1-3 scoreless innings in an 8-1 home win over the Pirates. It was his first win since beating Houston on April 7, 2013, in his last start for Oakland.
Anderson hasn’t won back-to-back starts since winning four consecutive August outings for the A’s in 2012.
”Your goal when you pitch is to win the ballgame and it’s been a while,” Anderson said. ”It’s pretty satisfying, especially my first win in the National League. Hopefully I’ll get on a roll here.”
Anderson has never faced the Cubs, though former San Francisco outfielder Nate Schierholtz is 2 for 2 with a home run against him. Schierholtz, however, is 3 for 35 over his last 16 games after going hitless in seven at-bats Tuesday.
Emilio Bonifacio is 6 for 11 with a home run and two doubles in this series, while Anthony Rizzo is batting .349 with five homers and 10 RBIs since the All-Star break.
The last-place Cubs (44-61) will likely need a big day offensively with Travis Wood (7-9, 5.06) on the mound as they try to win three in a row for the first time since a four-game run from June 30-July 4.
The 2013 All-Star hasn’t won since June 15, going 0-4 with a 6.38 ERA in his last seven starts. He allowed five runs – two earned – over five innings in Friday’s 7-6 home victory over St. Louis.
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies dating to his time with Cincinnati. He limited them to two hits over seven shutout innings in a 9-1 victory in his only meeting at Wrigley in May 2013.
Carlos Gonzalez is hitless with four strikeouts in 10 career at-bats versus Wood, and is batting .155 in his last 21 games.