Atlanta is a defeated team, hardly seeming prepared to play the role of spoiler. Failing to take advantage matchups with teams such as the Braves isn’t going to help the Colorado Rockies’ cause.
Losers of three straight, the Rockies look to beat the Braves for the first time in the teams’ last three meetings as the clubs play the middle game of their series Wednesday night.
This has been Atlanta’s worst season in nearly 20 years, set to finish with a winning percentage below .488 for the first time since 1990 (.401). The Braves (63-82) had lost two straight and 20 of 27 before winning the opener of this series 5-4 in 10 innings Tuesday night, with Colorado’s Taylor Buchholz balking in the winning run.
“We’ve played so many tight ones,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “We’ll take anything, a walkoff balk or anything right now.”
Losses such as those will make it tough for the Rockies (67-78), who trail the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. Colorado has reason to believe it can make up that difference after being in a similar deficit last season, going 21-1 after Sept. 16 to earn its first NL pennant.
But the Rockies have lost three straight and four of five. Two of those losses have been against San Francisco and Atlanta, teams with winning percentages below .450. And Colorado has lost two straight to Atlanta after winning the teams’ first three games this season.
“We haven’t done a very good job in a lot of areas—getting runners in getting bunts down, doing the little things we were doing last year to win games,” Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki told the team’s official Web site.
The Rockies will now send Livan Hernandez (1-3, 10.13 ERA) to the mound. The veteran right-hander is 3-15 with a 5.44 ERA in 23 starts and one relief appearance versus the Braves.
Hernandez has struggled since joining Colorado off waivers from Minnesota on Aug. 6. He labored through 5 1-3 innings against San Francisco on Tuesday night, giving up four runs and five hits as the Rockies won 6-5 in 12 innings.
Colorado will likely need a big game at the plate to give Hernandez a chance to win, but it is batting .165 during its skid. The Rockies scored all of their runs Tuesday on homers.
The Rockies’ lineup will be facing James Parr (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who pitched well in his last three starts with Triple-A Richmond and carried it over to his major league debut Thursday night. Parr pitched six sharp innings, combining with three relievers for a five-hitter to lead Atlanta to a 2-0 victory over Washington.
The 22-year-old right-hander conceded two hits and struck out three.
Parr, who was promoted last week, went 5-3 with a 3.23 ERA with Richmond, going 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his last three starts.