DENVER — Superb starting pitching has carried the Colorado Rockies to a season-high five-game winning streak and eight victories in their past 11 games.
They will try to continue that success and establish some traction at Coors Field on Tuesday, when they begin a two-game series with the Los Angeles Angels, the start of a six-game homestand that also includes four games with the Milwaukee Brewers.
In their past 11 games, the Rockies starters have a 1.71 ERA, allowing 13 earned runs in 68 1/3 innings. The starters are 7-3 in that span and have thrown 10 quality starts, the exception coming April 27 at Miami, when Tyler Anderson experienced difficulty breathing and was forced to leave in the second inning. Entering the Angels series, the Rockies starters have thrown eight consecutive quality starts, tying the franchise record. Rockies starters also threw eight consecutive quality starts from June 4-11, 2009, and from July 29-Aug. 6, 2006.
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“We are seeing growth in a lot of our pitchers,” Rockies manager Bud Black told reporters Sunday after Kyle Freeman allowed two runs in the first and none in his final six innings in a 3-2 win at Citi Field over the New York Mets. “It’s great to see. You look at the stretch of games, and every starter has pitched to a level of quality. “The type of games we have been in — some low-scoring games — we had to make some pitches to keep it right there. I talk about it all the time. For us to contend, the starting pitching has to be there, and it’s been there the last couple of weeks.”
The Rockies are coming off a 6-3 road trip against the Marlins (1-2), Chicago Cubs (2-1) and Mets (3-0) that boosted their road record to 15-8. At Coors Field, the Rockies are 5-7.
The Rockies and Angels last played in 2015. The Angels lead the all-time series 24-8 and are 11-2 at Coors Field where they have won eight straight games dating to 2001. Winners of five of their past six games, the Angels have a major league best 13-3 record on the road this season.
Jon Gray, who is 3-4 with a 4.99 ERA will start Tuesday for the Rockies against Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, who is 1-1 with a 5.31 ERA. Gray is 2-0, 0.69 in his past two starts — April 25 against San Diego and May 1 at Chicago — yielding six hits and one run in 13 innings in that span. He has never faced the Angels. Gray is 1-2, 7.63 in three starts this season at Coors Field, where he is 13-6, 4.76 in 30 career starts.
Heaney began the season on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation and made his 2018 debut April 13. He has yielded one earned run in each of past two starts and pitched a season-high six innings Wednesday against Baltimore, allowing one run on five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts for his first victory since Aug. 28, 2017 against Oakland.
Heaney is 1-0, 2.45 in one start against the Rockies. It came at Coors Field on July 7, 2015, when Heaney pitched a career-high 7 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on eight hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
In five games at Coors Field, Angels center fielder Mike Trout is hitting .571/.640/1.048 with three homers, seven RBIs and 12 runs scored. This season, Trout is hitting .336 with a 1.178 OPS, 12 homers and 24 RBIs.
He has been particularly hot lately with four straight multi-hit games, including three hits in each of his past three games. During this stretch, Trout is 11-for-19 in with three doubles, two triples, one homer and five RBIs.
“I’m getting pitches and not missing them,” Trout told reporters Sunday after going 3-for-4 with a three-run homer in an 8-2 win at Seattle. “Getting my foot down. The timing is good right now. I’m seeing pitches and putting good at-bats together.”