White Sox, Rockies begin interleague series (Jul 07, 2017)

BY AP • July 7, 2017

DENVER -- A rare interleague meeting between the Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox will begin Friday with the opener of a three-game series.

The teams last met in 2014, when the Rockies took two of three at Coors Field. The White Sox lead the all-time series 7-5, with the teams also playing in 2005 and 2011 at Colorado and in 2008 at Chicago.

The Rockies are 5-4 in interleague play this year, and the White Sox are 2-4.

Colorado right-hander German Marquez (5-4, 4.41 ERA) will start against left-hander Derek Holland (5-8, 4.52). Marquez, who has never faced the White Sox, was not involved in the decision Sunday at Arizona, where he allowed three runs on five hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings.

The Rockies are 7-6 in games started by Marquez, who is 2-2 with a 4.85 ERA in five starts at Coors Field this season. He has pitched six innings in just one of his past five starts.

Holland has never pitched against the Rockies. In his past seven starts, he is 1-5 with a 7.91 ERA with 10 home runs allowed in 33 innings. The White Sox are 6-10 in games started by Holland, who is 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in nine road starts.

The Rockies are coming off a four-game split with the Cincinnati Reds, including a 6-3 loss Thursday, hardly what they were hoping for to begin a seven-game homestand leading to the All-Star break against two last-place clubs.

Colorado has lost 12 of its past 15 games. During that stretch, the Rockies are hitting .226 overall, .216 with runners in scoring position and have a 6.43 team ERA -- a 7.29 ERA by the starters and a 5.17 ERA by the relievers.

Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez came off the 10-day disabled list Monday for the series with the Reds but went 2-for-14 in the four games, dropping his average to .217 with six homers, 22 RBIs and a .634 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

"I know what it feels like to be the best player in the game and the worst player in the game," Gonzalez said. "Right now, I feel like I'm the worst player in the game. But you've got to keep working. You've got to keep fighting. You always have to believe there's another opportunity."

Despite their skid, the Rockies (50-38) lead the Chicago Cubs by 6 1/2 games for the second National League wild-card spot and have legitimate designs on October. Meanwhile, the rebuilding White Sox (37-47) are looking to a better future, a vaguely positive goal, to be sure, with no certainty when it might be realized.

The White Sox, who didn't play Thursday, lost the last two games of a three-game series at Oakland to begin their current road trip.

Chicago third baseman Matt Davidson hit his 18th home run Wednesday, though he is in the midst of a 5-for-39 (.128) slump. He tied Ron Kittle (1983), Carlos May (1969) and Zeke Bonura (1934) for the second-most homers by a White Sox rookie before the All-Star break. Jose Abreu set the record with 29 homers before the break in 2014.

Davidson, 26, is hitting .247 with 42 RBIs and 105 strikeouts in 69 games. He has limited but positive experience at Coors Field, where in two games he went 3-for-8 with two homers and seven RBIs in September 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"We all know he has the skill set that, once it's honed and developed, he can go and be a consistent contributor at the plate and on the field also," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "This young man gives you solid at-bats. He's had some ups and downs, but for the most part, everyone can see there is something there that provides optimism in terms of what he can potentially be as he moves forward as a player."

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