Padres-Rockies Friday Night Preview
SAN DIEGO -- The Colorado Rockies continue their three-game series with the San Diego Padres on Friday, nestled on the fringes of the National League wild-card race.
Getting thumped 14-1 by the Padres in the series opener Thursday didn't help the Rockies' cause. But at least Colorado can sniff a playoff spot.
The Padres were long ago been erased from being a postseason factor. They assume their traditional role as a spoiler in a season-ending span of 22 more games against National League West teams.
However, there is another race that is heating up for the Rockies.
Can second baseman DJ LeMahieu win the NL batting title?
"No doubt," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
LeMahieu is matched against the New York Mets' Daniel Murphy, with Murphy holding a slight edge, .345 to .342, after the Colorado veteran went 0-for-1 with two walks Thursday. That ended a stretch in which LeMahieu hit safely in eight of nine games.
Baseball law says manager back their players. And while Weiss appreciates Murphy, he likes LeMahieu.
"A lot of that has to do with seeing what he's made of," Weiss said. "It really shows up every day in him trying to get better. That's how he works, that's how he competes. I expect DJ will be in that race right down to the end."
The beginning of Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo's career caused some pause. After never working above Double-A before this season, the right-hander got rocked for six runs in one inning by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the season-opening loss.
However, as the Padres get closer to the tape, Perdomo (7-8, 5.92 ERA) has been among the few bright spots in another dismal season. The Padres have notched one complete game this season, and it belongs to Perdomo, 23.
Perdomo has defeated the Rockies twice this year in three decisions. One of those wins came as a reliever, before he was inserted into a depleted rotation after the Padres peddled starters James Shields, Drew Pomeranz and Andrew Cashner and went into complete rebuilding mode.
Since June 15, Perdomo has surrendered three earned runs or less in 10 of his 14 starts.
The Padres have some concerns about his workload, as he has thrown 121 2/3 innings. He threw 126 2/3 innings last year when splitting time between low Class A Peoria and high Class A Palm Beach.
"He feels good," manager Andy Green said. "But that is something we will watch."
The Padres will try to add a day of rest down the stretch with an eye on Perdomo's inning total.
Perdomo's mound opponent Friday will be Tyler Chatwood (10-9, 3.94 ERA). The Colorado right-hander is making his second start since being reinstated from the disabled list after recovering from a back strain. He took the loss on Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing six runs (five earned) in five innings.
Chatwood has been particularly impressive on the road, pitching to a 6-1 record and a 1.82 ERA. His road ERA is the best in the majors (minimum 50 innings pitched).
Chatwood is 2-0 with an 1.84 ERA in two starts against the Padres this season.