Colorado (44-47) at Pittsburgh (32-61)

Fair Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Mon Jul 17, 2006
  • TV: FSRM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Before the All-Star break, the Colorado Rockies were close to taking the lead in the NL West. Now, they’re just wondering when their next win will come.

The Rockies hope to end a season-high seven-game losing streak Monday when they visit the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a three-game series at PNC Park.

Colorado (44-47) was swept in a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds, losing the finale 6-4 on Sunday.

This is the Rockies’ longest losing streak since dropping 10 in a row from April 24-May 7, 2005. They were one-half game out of first place in the NL West before the skid, which has dumped them into last. Colorado has also matched its season low of three games under .500, a bad sign for a team with playoff aspirations.

“I don’t think by any means that we’re out of it,” Rockies pitcher Josh Fogg said. “This is just a rough spot. We have a good enough team to go out and put together five, six, seven wins in a row and gain some ground. No matter who you play for, you go through these kinds of slumps.”

Colorado’s starting pitching has been strong, but the offense and the bullpen have been undependable, leading to many close losses. The Rockies, however, aren’t in a rush to make a trade.

“Just to make a move to make a move doesn’t make much sense,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “But (general manager Dan O’Dowd) is here. We’re talking. We’re watching.”

Rockies shortstop Omar Quintanilla was out of the lineup Sunday with a bruised right shin, sustained when he fouled a pitch on Saturday night. His status for Monday’s game is uncertain.

Byung-Hyun Kim (5-5, 4.89 ERA) gets the start for the Rockies. He gave up four runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings in a 4-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 7. The right-hander has a 9.00 ERA in his last two starts after tossing 13 scoreless innings while winning his previous two.

Kim is 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA in two starts and nine relief appearances against Pittsburgh.

The Pirates lost 8-4 to the Washington Nationals on Sunday, denying them their first three-game series sweep since they took three from the Reds on July 23-25, 2004.

Pittsburgh (32-61), however, did sweep a four-game series against the Brewers earlier this season. The Pirates have lost 21 of 27.

Pittsburgh had a 3-0 lead Sunday, but gave up a tiebreaking double in the 11th to Nick Johnson.

Kip Wells (0-4, 12.42 ERA) has lost all four of his starts after missing the first 2 1/2 months of the season for surgery to repair a blocked artery near his throwing shoulder. The right-hander gave up five runs and four hits in six innings in a 5-0 loss to the New York Mets on July 5.

Wells is 0-1 with an 8.22 ERA in three starts against Colorado.

Pittsburgh has veteran players like Jeromy Burnitz, Craig Wilson, Jose Hernandez and Joe Randa who contending teams could be interested in trading for, but they haven’t seen much playing time lately.

“We’ve got baseball games to be played and we’re going to try to win them,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “What the (veterans) have going for themselves is that it’s not the first time that scouts have seen these guys play.”

“They have a track record,” Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield added. “The guys that are out there on the last years of their contract are well known.”

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Starting Pitchers

B. Kim SF vs. K. Wells LAA
8-12 Record 2-5
5.57 ERA 6.50
129 K 20
61 BB 21
1.55 WHIP 1.85