The Colorado Rockies need to regain some momentum and a favorable matchup might help them.
Looking to make up ground in both the NL West and the wild-card standings, Jorge De La Rosa and the Rockies open a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
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The Rockies (82-67) blew an early five-run lead and lost 7-6 in 11 innings to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday. The defeat — combined with San Fransisco’s win — dropped Colorado to third in the division, 1 1/2 games back of the front-running Giants and 3 1/2 games back of wild-card leading Atlanta.
“It’s a frustrating loss because we were three outs away, but it’s not a backbreaker,” said closer Huston Street, who blew his fifth save in 25 opportunities. “It’s tough to let a big lead like that slip away, no matter what part of the season it is, and today’s no different.”
De La Rosa (8-4, 4.25 ERA), who has won three consecutive starts, takes the mound as Colorado tries to win for the 14th time in 17 games.
The left-hander is 5-2 with a 2.19 ERA in eight career starts against the Diamondbacks, winning four straight outings. He struck out a season-high 10 in a 13-4 win Sept. 10, giving up two runs and five hits in six innings.
De La Rosa won Wednesday despite giving up five runs in a 9-6 victory over San Diego.
“He stepped up and gave us exactly what we needed,” manager Jim Tracy said.
Despite his success against the Diamondbacks, De La Rosa has never won at Arizona, going 0-2 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts at Chase Field.
Troy Tulowitzki doesn’t care where he plays as he continues to be one of the league’s hottest hitters. His 14 home runs and 34 RBIs in September lead the majors, and the shortstop is hitting .352 with five homers and 13 RBIs versus Arizona this season.
“I don’t have words to describe what we’re seeing from Troy Tulowitzki,” Tracy told the Rockies’ official site. “It’s one thing to be hot. It’s another thing to be in the zone, like this guy is.”
The Diamondbacks (59-91) will start Joe Saunders (2-6, 4.88), who has struggled since being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels prior to the trade deadline. The left-hander has dropped consecutive starts, giving up seven runs in each outing, and lasted 7 1-3 innings in Arizona’s 7-5 loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Saunders had his shortest outing of the year against De La Rosa on Sept. 10, getting tagged for seven runs — four earned — with five hits and four walks in 2 1-3 innings of a 13-4 defeat. He did beat the Rockies while pitching for the Angels on June 26, though.
Rookie Daniel Hudson had another great performance Sunday, allowing one run and three hits in 6 1-3 innings, but the Diamondbacks were swept in a three-game series by the Pirates after the bullpen allowed three eighth-inning runs Sunday in a 4-3 defeat.
Arizona shortstop Stephen Drew is hitting .357 over his last 10 games, but is 3 for 16 (.188) with eight strikeouts lifetime against De La Rosa.
Colorado has won four straight between the teams and leads the season series 9-6.