If the Colorado Rockies want to remain a postseason contender,
they must win on the road. They also can’t afford to keep losing to
the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Rockies look to avoid a fourth consecutive loss at
Pittsburgh, and eighth straight overall on the road Friday
With a 5 1/2-game deficit and two teams to leapfrog in the
wild-card race, Colorado (56-52) needs to make a serious push to
reach the postseason. That means winning on the road, where the
Rockies are 20-33 and in the midst of their longest losing stretch
since dropping 13 straight May 10-June 2, 2008.
“We need to win a bunch of these,” manager Jim Tracy said after
a 5-1 loss in Thursday’s series opener. “I’m not going to shy away
from that fact.”
The Rockies, who have scored 14 runs in their last seven road
games, have lost three of four to the lowly Pirates (38-70) this
season and five of seven at PNC Park.
“You’re not going to win too many baseball games when you have
one run – it’s that simple,” Tracy said.
Troy Tulowitzki had an RBI and three of the seven hits Thursday
for Colorado, which had scored 46 runs while winning five of six
prior to this four-game set. The Rockies have totaled five runs in
their three losses to the Pirates in 2010.
Tulowitzki, however, is 6 for 15 with three RBIs against
Pittsburgh this season. He is 6 for 8 in his last two games
After being stymied by James McDonald in his Pirates debut
Thursday, Colorado hopes to prevent Zach Duke (5-10, 5.36 ERA) from
beating the Rockies for a third straight time.
The left-hander improved to 4-2 and lowered his ERA against
Colorado to 6.25 after allowing a pair of home runs over six
innings in a 4-2 win at Coors Field on July 27.
Duke wasn’t as successful Sunday, when he gave up six runs in
five innings of a 9-1 loss at St. Louis. He had posted a 3.18 ERA
while winning two of his previous three starts after missing a
month with a strained elbow.
“Obviously, the numbers don’t match up as well as I feel like I
pitched,” Duke told the Pirates’ official website. “It’s tough. I’m
still going to take the positives from (Sunday) and keep building
Colorado counters with Jason Hammel (7-6, 4.37), who looks to
avoid losing his fourth straight decision.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.33 ERA in four starts since the
All-Star break. He allowed four runs in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-5 win
over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Hammel gave up five runs in six innings in his only previous
start against Pittsburgh, not factoring in the decision of a 9-7
win June 20, 2009, at Coors Field.
Garrett Jones and Neil Walker each had two hits with an RBI in
the series opener for the Pirates, who have won two of three after
losing five in a row. Jones is 8 for 16 with three home runs and
six RBIs against the Rockies this season.