Like NL West rivals Colorado, the Arizona Diamondbacks have labored for much of this season, but Chase Anderson has provided some positivity in his last four starts.
The rookie right-hander will try to produce another strong outing and lead his club to a fifth consecutive win over the Rockies when the NL's two lowliest teams begin a three-game series Friday night.
Barring a stellar finish, Arizona (49-66) is heading toward its first losing season since finishing 65-97 in 2010 and has moved closer by dropping five of six on its season-high 10-game homestand. Kansas City sent the Diamondbacks to a 6-2 loss Thursday to complete a three-game sweep.
Anderson (6-4, 3.19 ERA) has provided a boost lately, going 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last four starts. He gave up a solo homer and four other hits in six innings Saturday against Pittsburgh but exited with the game tied in an 8-3 loss.
"He pitched great," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's throwing the ball really good. He's kind of getting into a groove. He's on a pretty good roll right now."
Anderson won his only start against Colorado on June 3, allowing one run in six innings in a 4-2 road victory, and the Rockies (45-69) enter this series having dropped nine of 11.
Colorado fell 6-2 to the visiting Chicago Cubs on Thursday after setting a season high in runs a night earlier in a 13-4 rout.
"We couldn't get the clutch hit. We couldn't get the big inning," manager Walt Weiss said. "We had a couple of opportunities. Just couldn't get it done."
The Rockies have also lost 18 of 20 on the road and are hitting .228 while averaging 2.8 runs.
Their starters have a 5.71 ERA in that miserable stretch and Tyler Matzek (2-6, 5.31) was tagged for a career-high eight runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings Saturday in an 11-5 loss in Detroit.
"That's always a challenge, especially for a young pitcher when you get kicked around a little bit like everyone does in this league," Weiss told MLB's official website. "You've got to bounce back. I think he'll be all right."
The rookie left-hander, 0-2 with a 5.93 ERA in five starts away from home, will try to end his team's skid against Arizona in his first start versus the Diamondbacks. Colorado took two of three in its only other visit to Arizona this season April 28-30 after going 2-8 there in 2013.
Troy Tulowitzki had two homers, two doubles and a single while driving in five runs in that series, but is on the disabled list because of an ailing hip. He was hitting .438 with 11 homers and 31 RBIs in his last 30 games versus Arizona.
Charlie Blackmon went 6 for 6 with three doubles and a home run in a 12-2 win against the Diamondbacks on April 4 then 3 for 4 in a 9-4 victory the next day. He's batting .222, however, in his last seven matchups.
Mark Trumbo has homered in each of his three games against Colorado this season and has five in his last four matchups. Miguel Montero has three homers in his last four games versus the Rockies.