Kennedy, D-backs visit streaking Rockies
While the weather in Denver has been frigid of late, Colorado has been red hot. The surging Rockies will try to extend the best home start in franchise history Friday night when they open a three-game set against the Diamondbacks.
After a pair of games were postponed due to heavy snow, the Rockies (11-4) completed a shortened three-game sweep of the Mets with Thursday's 11-3 victory. Dexter Fowler, Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Rutledge all went deep for the Rockies, who tied the franchise record for lowest temperature to start a home game at 28 degrees.
Colorado collected a season-high 17 hits in improving to 6-0 on its own field for the first time.
The Rockies have also put together a six-game winning streak overall, their longest since winning seven straight April 9-15, 2011. Besides going 23 for 62 (.371) with runners in scoring position, Colorado has scored 46 runs and allowed just 49 hits during its run.
"We were able to create situations with a lot of runners on base and take advantage of the opportunities," said Carlos Gonzalez, who went 3 for 5 to raise his average to .400. "We've got to continue to play this way against whoever comes to our ballpark."
Gonzalez has been especially locked in over the last four games, going 11 for 17 with a homer and nine runs scored. The slugging left fielder is batting .415 with nine homers, 29 runs and 20 RBIs over his last 27 home games against the Diamondbacks.
Gonzalez, though, is just 4 for 23 with nine strikeouts against Friday's scheduled starter, Ian Kennedy (1-1, 5.79 ERA), who figures to be well rested after leaving for Denver ahead of his teammates.
"Hope it works," manager Kirk Gibson told MLB's official website. "The altitude has some effect on some guys. Maybe he gets a better night sleep. I tend not to sleep my first night there. We'll get in late -- it's going to be cold there and stuff."
Kennedy is coming off a disappointing performance Saturday, allowing six runs and 10 hits -- including three to the opposing pitcher -- over 5 2/3 innings of a 7-5 loss to the Dodgers.
Kennedy, though, has been plenty sharp against the Rockies of late, going 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA over his last five starts in the series. He's struck out 36 and issued just five walks in 35 innings.
Besides having his way with Gonzalez, Kennedy has also made things difficult on Tulowitzki, who's gone 3 for 17 in their matchups. Both Gonzalez and Tulowitzki, though, have taken Kennedy deep.
The Rockies counter with Jhoulys Chacin (2-0, 1.96), who gave up two runs and four hits over five frames Saturday in a 9-5 victory in San Diego. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA over nine career starts against the Diamondbacks.
The D-backs (9-6) dropped back-to-back games at Yankee Stadium before salvaging Thursday's series finale with a 6-2 win in 12 innings. Cody Ross hit a go-ahead single before Eric Chavez followed with a three-run double.
"It just shows a lot of character how we won this game," reliever Heath Bell said.
Acquired from the Reds in a three-team trade this offseason, 23-year-old Didi Gregorius also came up big in his Diamondbacks debut, going 2 for 5 with his first career homer. The promising shortstop missed the first 14 games with a strained right elbow.
"He's coming off an injury," Gibson said. "We'll be careful with him."
Paul Goldschmidt, batting .429 with a homer and three RBIs during a five-game hitting streak, has reached base in all 15 contests this year. He's hitting .333 with 10 RBIs over 12 career games at Coors Field.
The Diamondbacks have won 10 of the last 16 in Colorado.