Padres look to capitalize on Rockies' home struggles
DENVER -- The path to the postseason for the Colorado Rockies is fairly straightforward. They must dominate at Coors Field and stay around .500 or a tad better on the road.
Indeed, the two times the Rockies had a winning record on the road in their 25 seasons, they went 41-40 last year and in 2009. Those were two of the four times that the Rockies went to the postseason.
Their 7-6 loss Monday night to the San Diego Padres dropped the Rockies to 1-3 at home this season. It's too early to call that a trend, let alone anything worrisome, but it's a noticeable skid they will try to end Tuesday against the Padres behind Tyler Anderson, who has pitched well at Coors Field.
"It's been pretty bad, the first couple games at home," Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "Normally we play better than that. Yesterday, offensively, our performance was poor (in a 4-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves). And today it was the opposite. But we have a lot of time to put it together. We understand that we're better than that."
The six runs the Rockies scored Monday night matched their total over the weekend when they dropped two of three games to the Braves.
Tuesday's game against the Padres will be a matchup of left-handers, and Anderson (0-0, 7.56) and Joey Lucchesi will oppose each other for the second straight start. When they started Thursday at San Diego, the Rockies won 3-1, and neither starter was involved in the decision.
Coming off a poor first start of the season at Arizona, Anderson held the Padres scoreless for six innings, allowing four hits with no walks and four strikeouts before leaving after facing one batter in the seventh.
Anderson is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in four starts against the Padres. He has thrived at Coors Field where he is 8-5 with a 3.39 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) with 31 walks and 108 strikeouts in 119 1/3 innings. Against the Padres at Coors Field, Anderson is 1-0 with a 0.73 ERA in two starts.
Lucchesi will make his first career start on the road in his Coors Field debut. In his first two career starts, he has eight strikeouts and three walks in 9 2/3 innings, while yielding three earned runs.
Lucchesi's second start was Thursday against the Rockies when he pitched five scoreless innings and allowed one hit, a single by Charlie Blackmon to open the game, with three walks and seven strikeouts.
While winning for just the third time in 11 games Monday night, the seven runs the Padres scored were one shy of their total in their previous five games, and they tied their season-high with 13 hits. Two of their victories this season have been against the Rockies, whom they already have played five times.
Padres shortstop Freddy Galvis, acquired from Philadelphia in an offseason trade, doubled and scored San Diego's first run Monday in the fourth. He's hitting .351 with a .455 on-base percentage and has reached base safely in each of the Padres' 11 games. But more importantly, Galvis has stabilized a key position that was a Padres weakness last season.
"When you have someone like that that brings consistent defense at a high level, that alters the course of the game," said Padres pitcher Clayton Richards, who worked five innings Monday, earned the victory and hit the third homer of his career. "When he's able to make plays like that consistently, it puts us in a really good position."