The Colorado Rockies traditionally have had one of the worst pitching staffs in the league. Lately, they’ve been one of the most dominant.
The Rockies look for another outstanding mound performance and their first three-game sweep of the Giants in San Francisco when the teams wrap up a weekend series on Sunday.
Colorado (54-55) has finished last or second to last in the NL in ERA in each of the past 13 seasons. This year, though, the Rockies have the league’s second-best ERA at 4.11.
The Rockies have won six of their last eight games with the staff posting a 1.34 ERA in that span. Colorado pitchers have not allowed more than two earned runs in any of those games, and starters have pitched into the seventh in all of them.
“It’s been amazing to watch these guys pound the strike zone and go seven or eight innings,” said newly acquired Jeremy Affeldt, who pitched two shutout innings of relief to get the win in Saturday’s 2-1, 11-inning victory. “That’s a lot of rest for the bullpen. It’s some of the best pitching I’ve seen in a long time from starters.”
Clint Barmes’ RBI single in the 11th put the Rockies ahead Saturday. Colorado trails first-place San Diego by 2 1/2 games in the NL West.
“It’s the first time we’ve been in this position,” Saturday’s starter Jason Jennings said. “Usually we’re out of it this time of the year. We’re just trying to hang around and make it interesting come September.”
Aaron Cook (7-9, 3.79 ERA) looks to continue the Rockies pitching success when he takes the mound. He’s coming off one of his best starts of the season, limiting Milwaukee to two runs and four hits in eight innings of a 4-2 win on Monday.
In two starts against San Francisco (52-58) this season, Cook is 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA, allowing nine runs and 21 hits in 12 1-3 innings. The right-hander is 2-4 in 14 career games against the Giants.
San Francisco has dropped four straight series and 11 of 12 games overall, but trails the first-place Padres by only five games.
Slugger Barry Bonds reached a pair of milestones with an RBI double Saturday. The double moved him past Stan Musial into sole possession of second place with 1,378 extra base hits all-time, and the RBI was the 1,900th for the seven-time NL MVP.
Bonds had his first three-hit game of the season Saturday, and is batting .529 (9-for-17) with one homer and five RBIs in his career against Cook.
Rookie Matt Cain (7-8, 4.74) looks to get San Francisco back on track Sunday, as he pitches against a team he has pitched well against in his career.
Cain gave up two runs and four hits while striking out seven in seven innings, but took the loss in a 4-1 loss to Washington on Tuesday.
“He gave us a tremendous effort,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said.
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies, allowing fewer than two runs in all of those games. He gave up one run and two hits, but walked five, in 5 2-3 innings of a 4-1 win over Colorado on May 27.