Nationals-Rockies Preview

The Colorado Rockies hope their concern for an injured teammate

won’t hinder the collective focus they’ll need to bounce back from

their latest defeat.

A night after watching their starting pitcher get carted off the

field, the struggling Rockies look to regroup Saturday and prevent

the Washington Nationals from winning consecutive games at Coors

Field for the first time in three years.

The outcome of Colorado’s 5-3 loss to Washington on Friday was

overshadowed by starter Juan Nicasio being hit in the head by a

line drive off the bat of Ian Desmond in the second inning. The

Rockies right-hander lay flat on his back for several minutes

before he was placed on a stability board, then carted off and

taken to a local hospital where he was resting comfortably and

undergoing tests for a neck injury.

“It was hard,” manager Jim Tracy said. “I laud the effort to be

in the position we were in with a chance to win the game. You have

to finish the job.”

The incident was just another blow in a difficult season for the

Rockies (52-61), who have dropped five of six to fall further out

of contention in the NL West.

“It’s been a tough year already,” said shortstop Troy

Tulowitzki, batting .388 with four homers and 18 RBIs since the

All-Star break.

Jhoulys Chacin (8-8, 3.38 ERA), who watched from the dugout with

much concern as Nicasio lay on field, tries for a ninth time

Saturday to match his career-high victory total. The right-hander

is 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA in eight starts since he beat San Diego on

June 15.

Chacin held Philadelphia to one run in 7 1-3 innings Monday, but

closer Huston Street could not hold a two-run lead in the ninth and

the Rockies fell 4-3 in 10 innings.

“It’s frustrating more for the team,” Chacin said. “I (want) to

give us a chance to win the game.”

Chacin is 0-2 with 5.25 ERA against the Nationals, but he gave

up one run and four hits over seven innings of a 2-0 loss to them

July 10.

Washington (54-58) had lost four straight and seven of eight at

Coors Field before Friday’s victory, and hasn’t earned back-to-back

victories there since sweeping a doubleheader Aug. 7, 2008.

Desmond had four hits Friday while Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse

each added three as the Nationals regrouped after losing 6-3 in

Thursday’s opener. Desmond tried to keep his mind on baseball while

thinking of Nicasio.

“It’s hard to see another ballplayer get hurt,” he said. “I hope

he’s OK.”

Desmond is 10 for 26 (.385) while the Nationals have won five of

seven following a stretch in which he was 2 for 14 during the

team’s six-game skid. Morse is hitting .467 with two homers and six

RBIs over the last seven, and .478 in six career games versus

Colorado.

Scheduled Nationals starter Livan Hernandez (6-10, 4.08) is 1-3

in his last eight starts versus Colorado – where he spent part of

the 2008 season – but has a 2.24 ERA over that span.

After going 0-2 with a 5.74 ERA in five July starts, the

right-hander beat Atlanta on Monday as he allowed one run in six

innings of a 5-3 win.