The Colorado Rockies’ hopes of another September charge to the postseason are taking a serious hit.
Looking to snap a four-game losing streak, the struggling Rockies also will try to avoid being swept in their three-game road set with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.
Colorado (67-79) lost 9-5 on Wednesday and fell eight games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West with only 16 remaining. Last season, the Rockies went 20-8 in September and won 14 of their final 15 contests to reach the postseason and ultimately win the NL pennant.
“Our window of opportunity is pretty small now,” said Colorado manager Clint Hurdle, whose team has lost five of six and opens a nine-game homestand starting with the Dodgers on Friday. “We need to win ballgames.”
The Rockies hope to get the best of Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens (12-9, 3.54 ERA) as he tries for another strong outing against Colorado. He allowed eight hits in 7 2-3 scoreless innings of a 7-1 win over the Rockies on June 16. Jurrjens is 1-1 with a 2.45 ERA in two career starts this season versus Colorado.
The right-hander will try to win two in a row overall after allowing a run and six hits in five innings of Atlanta’s 10-5 triumph over Washington on Friday — his first victory in five starts.
“I’ve been losing control of all my pitches right now,” Jurrjens said. “I don’t know why. I just need to find my release point again. I’m not worried about wins. I’m just trying to finish the season healthy.”
Jurrjens could be in good shape if his teammates supply similar run support like they did Wednesday as the Braves (64-82) won their third straight game over Colorado while improving to 4-2 on their seven-game homestand.
Kelly Johnson hit a pair of solo home runs while Chipper Jones and Brian McCann each had three hits and an RBI. Johnson has hit safely in nine straight games, batting .486 (18-for-37) with 12 RBIs during that span.
“It feels good,” Johnson said. “It’s one of those stretches you go through. I just hope to keep it going.”
Jones, meanwhile, is 9-for-18 over his last four games and hitting .363 this season to lead St. Louis’ Albert Pujols by one point in the NL batting race. Jones is batting .440 (11-for-25) with six RBIs in six games versus Colorado this season.
The Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez (10-12, 4.20) hopes to cool off Jones as the right-hander tries for his second straight win after giving up three runs and five hits while striking out six in six innings of a 5-3 victory over Houston on Friday.
“He was coming after people, and he started mixing in some other pitches,” Hurdle said of Jimenez, who won for the second time six starts. “It was an effective outing for him.”
Jimenez is 1-2 with a 6.32 ERA in three career starts versus Atlanta and 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA against them in 2008.