Rockies need to get back on track vs. Giants (Sep 04, 2017)

BY AP • September 7, 2017

DENVER -- Desperately needing to halt their precipitous tailspin, the Colorado Rockies begin a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Monday.

After getting swept in a three-game series by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Rockies are 1-5 on a homestand that will end with the Giants series.

The Rockies (72-64) have fallen 6 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks (79-58) in the race for the top National League wild-card spot and are just a half-game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers (72-65) for the second wild card.

Colorado lost four consecutive games and 10 of 14. In those 14 games, the Rockies have scored two or fewer runs five times and three or fewer runs nine times. The Rockies have batted .241 overall and .152 with runners in scoring position in that 14-game span.

While getting swept by the Diamondbacks, the Rockies hit .183 overall (17-for-93), .067 (2-for-30) with runners in scoring position and scored eight runs.

"It's tough, but this is a resilient group," Colorado manager Bud Black said. "We'll see how we bounce back. But I've got all the faith in the world in these guys."

The Rockies and Giants last met on June 28. Colorado leads the season series 9-4 and is 6-0 against San Francisco at Coors Field.

The Giants (54-85) have a National League-worst 22-47 record on the road, where they are 3-16-3 in series. They have lost five of their past six games, eight of their past 10 and 10 of their past 14.

Chad Bettis (0-2, 4.88 ERA) will start Monday for the Rockies against Chris Stratton (2-3, 3.82), who will be making his sixth major league start, all of them this season. Stratton has appeared in eight games this year.

Bettis will be making his fifth start, fourth at home, since recovering from testicular cancer. He gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers and lost his second straight start as the Rockies fell 6-2.

He also allowed five runs in five innings during his previous start, and he has yielded four home runs in that 10-inning span. Bettis is 3-4 with a 4.43 ERA in 10 games (starts) against the Giants and 2-2, 3.25 in four career starts against them at Coors Field.

Stratton was the losing pitcher Aug. 27 in an 11-0 rout at Arizona despite giving up only four hits and two runs in six innings. He had five walks and 10 strikeouts. It was his second 10-strikeout game in a three-start span.

Stratton's one career appearance against the Rockies was in his 2016 debut for the Giants on April 22 when he did not allow a hit or a run in three innings at Coors Field as the Giants lost 12-3.

Stratton, who is 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in his five starts, was scheduled to start Saturday against St. Louis. However, Johnny Cueto, who had been on the 10-day disabled list since July 15 with a flexor tendon strain, returned to the rotation Friday. That caused Jeff Samardzija to be pushed back to start on regular rest Saturday. On Sunday, the Giants started Madison Bumgarner, who had been scratched from a scheduled start Thursday because of flu-like symptoms.

All of that meant that once the Giants decided to pitch Matt Moore in relief for two innings Sunday -- he will start in the Giants' next series at the Chicago White Sox -- Stratton became the Monday starter.

"He's going to get his innings in," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Stratton. "We just happen to have six starters right now. Trying to keep them all going. He has the most experience of being a swingman, even though he's young. It's been his role. He's done such a great job of it that we don't think it's affecting him."

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