Rockies-Padres Preview

Ubaldo Jimenez’s most recent start was reminiscent of his

stellar 2010 season. The slumping and offensively challenged

Colorado Rockies may need a similar outing if they’re to win

back-to-back games for the first time in nearly three weeks.

Colorado visits the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night as the NL

West rivals continue a three-game set.

Jimenez (1-5, 4.98 ERA) has struggled to find the dominating

form from his 19-win campaign, going the first two months of 2011

without a victory. The right-hander ended his slump Wednesday in a

3-0 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching a four-hitter

while striking out a season high-tying seven and not walking a

hitter for the first time in 10 starts.

”I saw a couple things and I said, `This is what I’m going to

work on,”’ Jimenez said after his performance. ”I been working

really hard. It’s not like it came one day.”

However, the Rockies (28-31) haven’t offered their pitching

staff much run support of late. The offense has scored three runs

or fewer in the last eight games, though it provided enough Monday

for a 3-0 victory against the Padres.

The Colorado bullpen pitched three effective innings after

Clayton Mortensen threw six of his own. Rockies starters have given

up only five runs in 34 innings over the last five games, while

relievers have allowed four in 19 1-3 innings over the last

seven.

”A great pitching performance by our entire staff,” manager

Jim Tracy said of Monday’s victory.

Colorado last won consecutive games May 16 and 17. Given

Jimenez’s recent success against San Diego, the Rockies may not

have to wait much longer to duplicate the feat.

Jimenez has won five straight starts against the Padres with a

3.27 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 33 innings during that span. His last

loss to San Diego was Aug. 30, 2008.

The Padres (27-34) had won seven of nine prior to Monday’s

defeat and were shut out for a major league-high 10th time this

season, but only their second since May 7. The loss also ended San

Diego’s three-game home winning streak and dropped them to 12-22 at

Petco Park.

The Padres have dropped eight of the last 10 meetings at home

against Colorado and left 11 runners on base Monday.

”We had some base runners but we just couldn’t break through,”

manager Bud Black said. ”We couldn’t get that big hit.”

Chase Headley extended his hitting streak to 16 games, hitting

.339 in that stretch. He’s 6 for 18 with a home run against

Jimenez.

Tim Stauffer (1-4, 3.99) takes the mound looking to get the

Padres rolling again, though he’s coming off a rough outing

Thursday. The right-hander allowed seven runs – five earned – in

five innings, falling 7-4 to Houston.

Stauffer hasn’t started against the Rockies since Sept. 23,

2009, when he allowed two runs in 4 2-3 innings while not earning a

decision. He’s made four relief appearances against Colorado since,

yielding three runs in 7 1-3 innings.

Stauffer’s lone win in three career starts against the Rockies

came July 8, 2005.