Colorado (59-86) at Arizona (66-81)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Fri Sep 16, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If there is an advantage to being out of the playoff race it’s that teams get the opportunity to get a good look at their young players.

That’s about all the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies have to look forward to in the season’s final three weeks.

The Diamondbacks will get their second look at pitching prospect Dustin Nippert while the Rockies will counter with Zach Day when the teams begin a three-game series at Bank One Ballpark.

Nippert made his major league debut at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8, allowing three runs and five hits over five innings before a torn nail on his right index finger forced him to leave the game. He did not receive a decision in Arizona’s 8-7 loss.

“I never know what my stuff is going to be like when I’m on the mound,” Nippert said. “I can throw good in the ‘pen, and my stuff’s all good in the ‘pen, and once I get out to the mound, I can’t throw a strike or something like that. Anything can happen. Just have to wait and see until after the first inning’s over, I guess.”

The 24-year-old right-hander has already gone through a lot just to get to the majors.

He and twin brother, Derik, also a pitcher in Arizona’s farm system, were involved in a serious auto accident in 1999. Four years later, the 6-foot-7 Dustin developed a large tumor on the back of his right shoulder, but it proved to be benign. He also underwent Tommy John surgery last year.

Day, on the other hand, will be making just this third start with the Rockies. The veteran right-hander is winless since beating Atlanta on April 20 as a member of the Washington Nationals.

“I’m going out there trying to put up zeros, whether I’m auditioning for next year or just playing,” Day said “Either way, it doesn’t matter. Pressure is what you put on yourself.”

In two starts with the Rockies, Day has allowed seven runs and 16 hits over 10 innings while walking five and striking out six.

Colorado, which has won three of four since dropping four staright, had Thursday off following an 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Cory Sullivan had four hits, including a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning, and Garrett Atkins hit a grand slam.

“We’re just going out (and treating) every game the same, not trying to have the aspect of spoiler,” Sullivan said. “It’s more important for us to win games, not try to focus on beating teams that are in the race.”

Arizona is coming off a 14-2 defeat to Milwaukee on Thursday, its fifth loss in six home games.

The Diamondbacks’ 30-41 home record is among the worst in the majors.

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Starting Pitchers

Z. Day Min vs. D. Nippert Tex
1-3 Record 1-0
6.85 ERA 5.52
23 K 11
32 BB 13
1.96 WHIP 1.57