Rockies-Braves Preview

The Atlanta Braves are on a roll, and facing a Colorado Rockies

lineup that could be without two of its sluggers could make it even

easier for them to extend their success.

The Braves will continue their series Tuesday night against the

Rockies, who don’t know if they’ll have Carlos Gonzalez or Troy

Tulowitzki available to play.

Atlanta (50-36) posted a 4-1 victory in the series opener Monday

for its 11th win in 14 games. The Rockies, who have dropped two

straight, lost Tulowitzki to tightness in his right quadriceps

after he grounded into a double play in the fourth inning.

Colorado (41-44) said he’ll be re-evaluated Tuesday, but

Tulowitzki seems to be erring on the side of caution.

“I made the mistake before of staying in and getting hurt,” said

Tulowitzki, who has team highs of 17 homers and 57 RBIs. “I’ve

learned my lesson the hard way, that when you feel something, get

out of there.

“A game or three or four or whatever is better than months.”

The Rockies were already without Gonzalez, who bruised his right

wrist when he ran into the center-field wall Sunday against Kansas

City. X-rays showed no fracture, but Gonzalez said Monday he can’t

grip a bat.

However, manager Jim Tracy said he wouldn’t rule out Gonzalez,

who has 13 homers and 51 RBIs, playing Tuesday.

Colorado could certainly use him against a Braves team that has

posted a 2.54 ERA over the last 14 games. Tommy Hanson pitched

seven strong innings Monday and Freddie Freeman homered twice to

drive in three runs.

Freeman is hitting .303 with four homers and 11 RBIs over the

last 10 games.

“He’s been great,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “For a

21-year-old young man, he’s been able to compete in the major

leagues, get better and help us win ballgames.”

The Braves were also short-handed Monday, as Chipper Jones sat

out after having a cortisone shot in his sore right knee. He

expects to be back in the lineup Tuesday.

The Rockies will turn to Jhoulys Chacin (8-5, 3.10 ERA) on

Tuesday as he takes the mound for the first time in over a week

after being hit hard in a 7-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs last

Monday.

Chacin allowed six runs and gave up three homers in five

innings. The three homers were a career high and the six earned

runs tied a career worst.

“Unfortunately, Jhoulys didn’t have it today and that happens

once in a while,” Tracy said. “He couldn’t get the ball down today

and he paid for it.”

The right-hander is facing the Braves for the first time and

will be opposed by Derek Lowe (4-6, 4.16).

Lowe won for the first time in 10 starts after giving up one run

and four hits in six innings of a 5-3 victory over Seattle on

Wednesday. He was 0-3 with a 5.29 ERA over the previous nine

starts.

“Every game was a different type of frustration,” Lowe told the

Braves’ official website. “There were plenty of games throughout

this time when I could have easily pitched better. This will

definitely allow me to enjoy the off day better, finally getting a

win.”

Lowe is 9-8 with a 4.37 ERA in 20 starts against the

Rockies.

Todd Helton is hitting .319 (15 for 47) with two homers and two

doubles against Lowe, while Jason Giambi is 9 for 32 (.281) with

three homers when facing the right-hander.