The Colorado Rockies were the majors’ best home team for three months and became a serious playoff contender. Recent struggles at Coors Field, however, have made their postseason chances much slimmer.
The Rockies, losers of three straight, look to salvage the finale of a three-game set with the last-place Florida Marlins on Sunday.
Colorado had a major league-best .744 winning percentage (29-10) at home from June 2-Sept. 4, which helped the team rebound after struggling in April and May. The Rockies, though, have four of six at home to fall 6 1/2 games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West, and 4 1/2 behind San Diego for the wild card.
Colorado (76-72) has lost three straight overall for the first time since dropping eight in a row - all on the road - from June 22-29.
The Rockies aren’t losing to playoff contenders, either. They’re in danger of being swept by the Marlins (65-83), who have the NL’s second-worst record but have won three of five games against Colorado this season.
“These are desperate times,” the Rockies’ Todd Helton said. “We have to play like a desperate team. Maybe we can get lucky and get some help.”
Colorado went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position in a 10-2 loss to Florida on Saturday night.
With Willy Taveras (quadriceps) uncertain to return before the season is over, the Rockies could use Kaz Matsui back to help at the top of the order. Matsui, who’s missed seven straight games with a hamstring strain, took ground balls Saturday but manager Clint Hurdle isn’t sure when Matsui will be ready.
The Rockies’ pitching staff could also use a boost, having given up 29 runs during the team’s skid.
Rookie Franklin Morales (1-2, 4.84 ERA) will get the ball for Colorado. He is coming off the most impressive of his five starts, allowing three hits through five shutout innings to earn the win as the Rockies beat Philadelphia 8-2 on Tuesday night.
This will be the left-hander’s first appearance against the Marlins.
Florida, which has matched a season high with four straight wins, will send Scott Olsen (9-13, 5.81) to the mound. He gave up four runs, seven hits and walked five in five innings of a 5-4 loss to Washington on Monday night.
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 6.94 ERA in two career starts against the Rockies, and 2-7 with a 6.68 ERA in 13 road starts this season.
Olsen is 0-4 with a 7.39 ERA in six starts since beating Houston on Aug. 5, but he has gotten an average of just 1.6 runs of support his last five outings.
The Marlins are averaging 8.7 runs during their winning streak, and will be trying to win five straight for the first time since a nine-game run in August 2006.
Florida rookie manager Fredi Gonzalez said his team is embracing playing the spoiler role.
“Absolutely,” he said. “If you don’t, then you’re not a competitor. Everybody in that room’s a competitor, whether it’s ping-pong or marbles.”