Rockies-Padres Preview

The San Diego Padres are starting to show some signs of life

offensively.

The Colorado Rockies are mired in one of their worst offensive

slumps of the season.

In a matchup of teams heading in opposite directions, the Padres

look to win for the eighth time in 10 games in Monday night’s

series opener against a Rockies team trying to avoid its 13th loss

in 17 contests.

With Sunday’s 7-2 win over Houston, San Diego (27-33) won its

third in a row and plated its most runs since an 8-4 victory over

Arizona on May 16. The Padres have averaged 4.2 runs while batting

.259 in winning seven of nine after averaging 1.3 runs and hitting

.183 in losing eight of 10.

“We have been playing a lot better, more like we are capable of

playing and how we want to play,” said Chase Headley, who is

batting .345 with five RBIs during a career-high 15-game hitting

streak. “Fortunately, we didn’t play bad enough that we played

ourselves out of it early. We are still within striking distance. I

like the way we’re playing.”

The Padres are last in the NL West, but within 6 1/2 games of

first-place San Francisco, the smallest division deficit for any

last-place team. Improving their play in San Diego would certainly

help the Padres’ chances in the division race.

San Diego is an NL-worst 12-21 at home, and went 2-7 against the

Rockies last season at Petco Park.

The Padres took two of three from the Rockies at Coors Field

from May 13-15, scoring 24 runs while batting .296. Ryan Ludwick

hit .364 with a homer and five RBIs, while Brad Hawpe went 4 for 8

with a home run and three RBIs against his former team.

Colorado’s offense also fared well in the first series, totaling

21 runs and hitting .290. Troy Tulowitzki led the way, batting .357

with a home run and five RBIs.

The Rockies’ bats have been pretty quiet ever since.

Colorado (27-31) was limited to four hits in Sunday’s 2-1 loss

to the Giants – its 12th defeat in 16 games – and has scored three

or fewer runs in 11 of its last 12.

“Got to hit, that’s all I’ve got,” manager Jim Tracy said. “You

give up two runs, you should win. It’s that simple. We gave up six

runs in the series but we only scored four.”

Leadoff hitter Eric Young is batting .190 with eight strikeouts

and no walks in his last six games and Todd Helton is hitting .077

with a homer and two RBIs in his last five.

Helton and his teammates hope to turn things around against

scheduled starter Clayton Richard (2-6, 4.52 ERA), who allowed

three runs, eight hits and four walks in 4 2-3 innings in

Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to Atlanta.

This will be Richard’s first start of the season against the

Rockies after facing them six times in 2010. The left-hander went

1-2 with a 6.15 ERA, including 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three home

starts.

Helton is batting .429 lifetime against Richard, while

Tulowitzki is hitting .583 with three homers in 12 at-bats against

him.

Colorado counters with Clayton Mortensen (1-3, 3.69), who will

be facing for the Padres for the first time.

Mortensen allowed a season-high five runs, five hits and four

walks over four innings in Tuesday’s 8-2 loss to the Los Angeles

Dodgers. The right-hander, who failed to record a strikeout for the

first time this season, has recorded a 5.94 ERA in losing his last

three starts.