Miami (69-57) at Colorado (63-66)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 53° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Thu Aug 21, 2003
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Reliever Jose Jimenez will make his first start since 1999 as the Colorado Rockies try for a three-game sweep of the wild card-hopeful Florida Marlins.

Jimenez pitched a no-hitter and a two-hit shutout in consecutive starts for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1999 but was converted to a reliever when he was traded to the Rockies that offseason.

Jimenez is the Rockies’ career saves leader with 101 but was demoted from closer to long reliever in July after averaging 2.03 baserunners per inning. Jimenez is 1-6 with a 5.81 ERA this season.

If he does well as a starter, Jimenez could end up being the permanent replacement for staff ace Shawn Chacon, who will miss the rest of the season due to inflammation in his pitching elbow,

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said he’s confident Jimenez can produce in his first start in four seasons.

“He has proven very capable—we feel he deserves the opportunity,” said Hurdle, who added that Jimenez will get “a couple of starts.”

Jimenez, who went 5-14 with a 5.85 ERA as a starter in 1999, said starting will give him an opportunity to use his full arsenal of pitches.

“When you’re a closer, you just go after hitters,” he said. “You don’t have time to set guys up. But you work on your other stuff in the bullpen.”

The 30-year-old right-hander might have to be near perfect to earn a win against the Marlins considering Brad Penny’s dominance of the Rockies.

Penny hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last three starts against Colorado, and is 3-1 against the Rockies with a 1.30 ERA in five career starts.

Making his first start against the Rockies this season, Penny was brilliant against them in 2002 despite having an 0-1 record. In two starts, Penny allowed just nine hits and two unearned runs while striking out 12 in 13 innings. In his only start against Colorado in 2001, Penny allowed no runs and three hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 1-0 win.

The Marlins, who trail wild card leader Philadelphia by a half-game, have been routed in the first two games of this series, falling 10-2 in the opener and 9-3 on Wednesday.

Preston Wilson, Chris Stynes and Ronnie Belliard each drove in two runs Wednesday, while Cory Vance earned his first major league victory for the Rockies.

STANDINGS: (through Aug. 19). Marlins - 3rd place, 12 GB, NL East. Rockies - 4th place, 14 GB, NL West.

MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Penny (11-9, 4.00 ERA). In his last start, a 10-0 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday, Penny allowed just five hits in seven innings.

ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Jimenez (1-6, 5.81 ERA). Jimenez has pitched well in his last two outings, earning a victory and a save in a combined eight innings.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Marlins - Luis Castillo, .321 avg.; Mike Lowell, 32 HRs and 103 RBIs; Juan Pierre, 82 runs and 57 SBs. Rockies - Todd Helton, .358 avg. and 113 runs; Wilson, 30 HRs, 119 RBIs and 8 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Rockies, 3-2.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Marlins - SS Miguel Cabrera has a career-high 11-game hitting streak. … RHP Penny is 11-3 in night games. … C Ivan Rodriguez returned to the lineup Wednesday one day after suffering a sprained left wrist. Rockies - SS Juan Uribe is 0-for-6 against Penny with three strikeouts. … OF Wilson has an RBI in six of his last seven games. … OF Larry Walker sat out of Wednesday’s game with a sore right knee, and is day-to-day.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Marlins - 29-32 on the road; Rockies - 43-19 at home.

INJURIES: Marlins - RHP Kevin Olsen (concussion), 15-day DL; LHP Tommy Phelps (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Toby Borland (appendix), 60-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 60-day DL. Rockies - OF Walker (knee), day-to-day; C Bobby Estalella (elbow), 15-day DL; INF Mark Bellhorn (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Chacon (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Nelson Cruz (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Penny Mia vs. J. Jimenez Ari
14-10 Record 2-10
4.13 ERA 5.22
138 K 45
56 BB 32
1.28 WHIP 1.66