Rockies start pivotal 10-game homestand vs. Giants
DENVER — The Colorado Rockies will begin a crucial 10-game homestand Monday against the San Francisco Giants followed by three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and four against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Rockies, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are locked in a tight National League West race. Colorado is in second place, a half-game behind the Dodgers and a half-game ahead of the Diamondbacks.
Winning a second straight game Sunday in San Diego enabled Colorado to salvage a split of a four-game series with the Padres and conclude a 3-3 road trip. The victory also left the Rockies 1 1/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second NL wild-card spot.
The Rockies are 8-5 against the Giants this season and 5-1 at Coors Field. Left-hander Tyler Anderson (6-7, 4.79 ERA) will start for the Rockies and try to rebound after struggling in August. Left-handed ace Madiso Bumgarner (5-5, 2.68) will start for the Giants.
Despite losing five of the past eight games, the Rockies have gained a half-game in the standings during that stretch. They are 34-30 at home, including 11-7 since the All-Star break.
In the Rockies’ 7-3 win over the Padres on Sunday, key late-game relievers Scott Oberg (2.64 ERA) and Adam Ottavino (2.01) each pitched a scoreless inning. Both have worked in two straight games and three of the past four.
After the victory, Rockies manager Bud Black said, ” ‘Otto’ will be down (Monday). Oberg will be down. And the other guys who pitch in relief, if it’s a tight game with the Giants, have to come through for us. That’s what it’s going to take.”
Improvement from Anderson could determine whether it’s a tight game. He gave up seven hits and six runs on Aug. 26 against St. Louis and lasted a career-low two-thirds of an inning as the Cardinals romped 12-3.
The Rockies pushed back Anderson’s next start, and he will take the mound with seven days’ rest and hoping to improve his wayward command.
Anderson went 0-4 with an 11.39 ERA in five August starts and allowed nine homers in 21 1/3 innings along with a .368 batting average and 1.174 OPS by opponents. He has gone nine starts since he last won July 4 when he blanked the Giants on two hits for eight innings at Coors Field.
Anderson is 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA in five starts against the Giants, including two this season in which he’s 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA.
Bumgarner threw seven shutout innings Tuesday against Atlanta but ended up with a no-decision in the Giants’ 1-0 win. He has allowed two or fewer earned runs in six of his past seven starts — the exception when he gave up a season-high five earned runs on Aug. 18 at Cincinnati — going 2-2 with a 2.11 ERA during that stretch while holding opponents to a .199 average and .676 OPS.
Bumgarner is 12-8 with a 2.93 ERA in 28 career starts against the Rockies, including 0-1 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts this year. He’s 5-6 with a 3.93 ERA in 14 starts at Coors Field.
In the past eight games, the Giants’ starters have a 1.20 ERA (seven earned runs, 52 1/3 innings). But San Francisco has scored three or fewer runs in six of its past nine games.
The Giants (68-70) have dropped three of their past four games, including the final two of three to the New York Mets after trading right fielder Andrew McCutchen to the New York Yankees for two prospects just before the Aug. 31 trade deadline.
The Giants acquired McCutchen last winter. No longer the middle-of-the lineup force he was in Pittsburgh, McCutchen noneheless played regularly for the Giants. But they are mired in fourth place, and with McCutchen eligible for free agency after the season, a trade, while not welcome, made sense.
“Contrary to some other general managers, our front office, we don’t necessarily relish the trade deadline and being involved in this,” Giants executive vice president for baseball operations Brian Sabean told the San Jose Mercury News. “You’ve got people going out the door that you’re invested in and you’re never really sure of the return, etc. We all know the drill.”