Colorado (84-72) at Los Angeles (80-76)

Cloudy Currently: Los Angeles, CA
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Tue Sep 25, 2007
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Although they have done well without him, the Colorado Rockies are hoping leading NL MVP candidate Matt Holliday will be back in the lineup for the start of a crucial series.

Holliday and the Rockies look to extend their longest winning streak in a decade Tuesday when they open a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Colorado (84-72) has won eight straight, including a three-game sweep of the wild card-leading San Diego Padres over the weekend. The Rockies are in third place in the wild-card race, but only one game behind the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies for that playoff spot.

“Their actions speak louder than anything I can tell you guys,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “I’m just proud of the way they’re going about their business.”

This is the Colorado’s longest winning streak since winning nine in a row Aug. 26-Sept. 5, 1997. The 84 victories are a franchise best, and they won their last two games - a 6-2 win Saturday and a 7-3 victory Sunday - without Holliday in the lineup.

The Colorado slugger has been sidelined after aggravating a slightly strained left oblique. Holliday played the entire game Friday, but went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.

“Maybe they don’t need me,” Holliday told the Rockies’ official Web site Sunday. “The good thing about the team is that everybody is contributing, and everybody is doing the job.”

Holliday leads the league in RBIs (131), hits (205), extra base hits (89), doubles (48), and total bases (371). He is second in the NL with a .337 batting average and has hit a career-high 36 home runs.

Regardless of Holliday’s status, Colorado will continue to rely on veteran first baseman Todd Helton, who is 13-for-34 (.382) during the eight-game winning streak and is hitting 32-for-82 (.390) in September.

Helton insists he and his team aren’t feeling the pressure of trying to make the playoffs for just the second time in team history and first time since 1995.

“If we were any more relaxed, we’d need diapers and a bib, if that makes any sense,” Helton said.

Ubaldo Jimenez (4-4, 4.14 ERA) will take the mound for Colorado in Tuesday’s series opener. He won his first start in nearly a month on Thursday, beating the Dodgers 9-4 at home. Jimenez threw 6 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and five hits for his first win since Aug. 25 against the Washington Nationals.

The 23-year-old right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against the Dodgers.

Right-hander Brad Penny (16-4, 2.93) gets the start for Los Angeles (80-76), which has fallen into fourth place in the NL West - four games behind Colorado with six to play - and is on the brink of mathematical elimination.

The Dodgers snapped a seven-game losing streak Sunday with a 7-1 victory over the Diamondbacks.

Penny allowed four runs - three earned - and nine hits in six innings against the Rockies on Wednesday, but did not get charged with a decision in the 6-5 defeat. He remains tied with his career high in wins, set last season.

Penny is 12-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 20 career starts against the Rockies, including a 2-0 record and 2.70 ERA in four starts this year.

Colorado holds a 9-6 edge in the season series.

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Starting Pitchers

U. Jiménez Bal vs. B. Penny CWS
4-4 Record 16-4
4.28 ERA 3.03
68 K 135
37 BB 73
1.30 WHIP 1.31


Tuesday, Sep 25