The Colorado Rockies have boasted one of baseball’s best offenses in 2014 but are slogging through a rough patch. Without a turnaround Saturday, they might be headed for a third straight loss considering the way their starting pitching has also been struggling.
Colorado seeks just its third road win in 11 tries Saturday against the Cleveland Indians.
Though they’re batting a major-league leading .286 and averaging 5.1 runs this season, the Rockies (28-26) are hitting .212 while totaling 19 runs during a 2-6 stretch.
The frustration manifested in the sixth inning of Friday’s 5-2 loss at Cleveland in the form of manager Walt Weiss’ first career ejection. Weiss was tossed for arguing with the umpire after Michael Cuddyer was called out on strikes. Cuddyer was 0 for 4, ending an eight-game hitting streak.
The Rockies, who have dropped eight of 10 away from home, have tallied five or fewer hits six times in their last 18 contests. They had done so just twice through their first 36 games.
Troy Tulowitzki still leads baseball with a .360 average and .686 slugging percentage, but is just 2 for 15 over his last five contests. Colorado struck out a season-worst 15 times Friday, including 12 against Cleveland starter Corey Kluber.
"Just stay the course and keep battling," Weiss said. "We’re a good offensive club, but we got shut down by a good pitcher tonight."
The Indians (25-30) had also struggled offensively, totaling seven runs during a four-game skid with one extra-base hit prior to Friday’s victory. Michael Bourn, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall each had two hits apiece while Michael Brantley extended his major league-leading hitting streak to 15 games.
Bourn is 17 for 43 (.395) over his last 10.
If a slumping offense wasn’t enough to worry about, Colorado’s rotation has posted a 6.04 ERA over the last five games with no starter completing more than six innings. Juan Nicasio surrendered five runs and nine hits over just 4 2-3 innings Friday.
Franklin Morales (3-4, 5.65 ERA) doesn’t appear poised to buck that trend, as he’s 0-3 with a 7.09 ERA over his last five starts. Three homers accounted for the five runs he allowed over 4 2-3 innings of Sunday’s 7-0 loss at Atlanta.
The left-hander’s 1.73 home runs allowed per nine innings are the second-highest rate in baseball.
"Make my pitch and location and attack the hitter," Morales told the team’s official website when asked what he needs to do to turn things around.
Morales lost his only career start versus Cleveland, allowing three runs but just two hits – one a solo homer – over 5 1-3 innings of a 5-2 defeat with Boston on Aug. 11, 2012.
Bourn is 4 for 6 off Morales.
The Indians counter with Trevor Bauer (1-2, 3.86), who will be looking for better command. He’s struck out 21 over 16 1-3 innings in three starts, but has also issued eight walks.
He lasted a season-worst 4 1-3 innings in a 4-2 loss at Baltimore on Sunday, yielding four runs and surrendering two homers for the second straight outing.
Carlos Gonzalez ended an 0-for-11 slump with a two-run homer Friday, his eighth home run of the season Friday. He’s batting .431 with 11 extra-base hits and 12 RBIs during a 13-game interleague hitting streak.