If the Colorado Rockies hope to make another late-season charge up the NL West standings, their dismal record on the road will likely have to improve.
Based on their performance on their current trip, there’s at least some reason to believe it might.
The Rockies will look to win a season-high sixth game on a single trip when they continue their four-game series with the Florida Marlins on Saturday.
Colorado had lost 25 of its last 31 road games before the All-Star break, but began its second-half road slate with a three-game sweep of Cincinnati last weekend.
After a 5-2 win over Florida on Friday, the Rockies (50-61) are 5-3 on the trip with two games remaining, aiming at their first winning trip of more than three games since they went 5-4 against Arizona, San Diego and Houston from April 11-20. Their 39 road losses this season lead all of baseball.
Last season, they were 28-39 on the road before winning 11 of their last 14 away from Coors Field en route to the NL wild card and a trip to the World Series.
They’ve dug an even bigger hole this year, but their offense has shown signs of another surge. Colorado led the majors with 163 runs in July, and its bats didn’t slow down Friday. Each position player had at least one hit, led by Brad Hawpe’s 3-for-5, two-RBI performance.
The Marlins (58-52), meanwhile, looked like they could have used some help offensively one day after they failed to trade for Manny Ramirez. Florida mustered only four hits, including two in seven scoreless innings against Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez.
Philadelphia and the New York Mets also lost Friday, meaning the Marlins remained 1 1/2 games behind the Phillies and a half-game behind the Mets in the NL East.
Florida was swept at home by Tampa Bay from June 24-26, but hasn’t dropped back-to-back games to NL opponents in South Florida since it lost three in a row to the Los Angeles Dodgers from April 29-May 1.
Ricky Nolasco (10-6, 3.94 ERA) will try to prevent that while looking for his first victory since before the All-Star break when he faces the Rockies for the first time in more than two years.
After going 9-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his last 13 starts before the break, the right-hander is 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA in his last three outings. He didn’t receive a decision Monday against the Mets after giving up two runs in six innings of Florida’s 7-3 win.
In his last outing against Colorado, Nolasco pitched eight innings in a 13-0 win at Coors Field on June 3, 2006.
Rockies hurler Valerio De Los Santos (0-0, 4.50) hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2005 - when he made 27 appearances for Florida - and hadn’t started since 2000 before Monday. The 35-year-old left-hander gave up only two hits in four-plus innings at Pittsburgh, but walked six and allowed two runs in Colorado’s 8-4 loss.
“Throw strikes - that’s all I’ve got to do,” De Los Santos told the Rockies’ official Web site.