Red-hot Votto tries to tee off at Coors Field
Although they have a number of hot hitters at home, the Colorado Rockies' struggles on the mound are keeping them from climbing out of the NL West cellar.
The Cincinnati Reds are close to falling into last in the Central after a frustrating home series.
While Nolan Arenado looks to keep battering Cincinnati pitching in Friday night's series opener, red-hot Joey Votto will try to help the Reds put an end to their woes at Coors Field.
Arenado went 5 for 11 with two home runs and six RBIs as the Rockies (40-53) took two of three in Cincinnati from May 25-27. He's hitting .375 with four homers in his last 14 games against the Reds.
The All-Star is batting .358 with six home runs in his last 20 games at Coors, while Charlie Blackmon is hitting a baseball-best .414 there since June 3. Arenado (18), Troy Tulowitzki (16), Carlos Gonzalez (15) and Blackmon (14) make up four of the NL's top six in RBIs at home since June 8.
Despite that production, the Rockies are looking to avoid their fifth loss in six games since the All-Star break. They allowed 26 runs and 37 hits over the last three versus visiting Texas.
"We need to be able to play defense. We need to pitch. We need to hit. We're not doing any of that very well," Arenado told MLB's official website.
The Reds split a four-game series with the Chicago Cubs, coughing up leads in Tuesday's 5-4, 13-inning loss and Wednesday's 6-5 defeat in the nightcap of a doubleheader.
Votto is 14 for 26 since the break, but he's 5 for 45 (.111) in his last 12 against the Rockies.
Cincinnati (42-51), which has lost six of nine, has a slim lead on last-place Milwaukee heading into a series at Coors. The Reds have posted a 6.33 ERA while dropping 30 of 42 in Denver.
Anthony DeSclafani (5-7, 3.99 ERA) has been roughed up in his last two home starts, allowing 12 runs and 19 hits in 11 2-3 innings. The rookie right-hander owns a 5.69 ERA in nine outings at Great American Ball Park but a 2.53 mark over his nine on the road as he gets ready for his first outing at Coors.
"If we are talking two years from now, then we can look at the splits, but right now I just think it's coincidence," manager Bryan Price said.
Eddie Butler (3-6, 4.80) hopes to build on his promising return to the Rockies after he gave up two hits over four innings Sunday versus San Diego before rain postponed the game.
The right-hander had been sent to Triple-A Albuquerque after allowing season highs of six runs and 11 hits over 5 1-3 innings in a 6-2 home loss to Miami on June 5. He's posted a 6.59 ERA while dropping his last three starts at Coors.
In his only meeting with Cincinnati, Butler did not factor in a 5-4 road win after yielding four runs over six innings in May. Marlon Byrd had a home run and a double off him while Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier hit a two-run shot.
Byrd, however, is hitting just .225 in 18 career games at Coors and Frazier has gone 3 for 28 over his seven contests there.