Colorado (57-47) at Cincinnati (45-58)

Fog Currently: Cincinnati, OH
Temp: 45° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Sun Aug 2, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Colorado Rockies are quickly putting a three-game losing streak they had earlier this week behind them.

A series against the slumping Cincinnati Reds can help a team do that.

In Sunday’s finale, the Rockies look to sweep a three-game set from the Reds, who are trying to avoid losing for the 12th time in 13 games.

After scoring three total runs in losing the first three games of a four-game series with the New York Mets, Colorado (57-47) salvaged that set by winning Thursday’s finale 4-2. The Rockies carried some momentum from that victory to Cincinnati, where they’ve plated 11 runs in winning the first two games.

In Saturday’s 6-2 victory, Ian Stewart(notes) had a two-run single to snap an 0-for-12 slump and All-Star Brad Hawpe(notes) scored twice and had two hits to break an 0-for-15 skid for Colorado, which is tied with San Francisco for the wild-card lead.

While the Rockies are hoping to make the playoffs for the second time in three years, Cincinnati’s postseason aspirations are fading rapidly.

The Reds (45-58) were just two games out of first place in the NL Central on July 2, but little has gone right since. They’ve lost five straight, 11 of 12 and are a major league-worst 6-20 since July 3 to drop into a tie for last place with Pittsburgh, 11 games back of first-place St. Louis.

Cincinnati’s offense has been sluggish during the losing streak, scoring only 12 runs while batting .178.

Joey Votto(notes), the Reds’ offensive leader, is just 4 for 21 (.190) with one home run and two RBIs in his last six games after batting .407 (11 for 27) with three homers and five RBIs in his previous seven.

“We’re scuffling big-time,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said.

In the finale, Baker gives the ball to Bronson Arroyo(notes) (10-10, 5.17 ERA), who makes his first start since admitting he took amphetamines earlier in his career.

Arroyo, who played for Boston from 2003-05, was quoted in Friday’s Boston Herald as saying he took androstenedione and amphetamines, which could have produced positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs. Androstenedione was banned in 2004 and amphetamines in 2006.

“Before (2004), none of us paid attention to what we took,” said Arroyo.

Arroyo is trying to break out of a funk, having lost his last two starts and five of seven. On Tuesday, the right-hander gave up three runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to San Diego.

Arroyo is 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA in four career starts versus the Rockies, but hasn’t faced them since 2007.

Colorado counters with Jason Marquis(notes) (12-7, 3.47), who is tied for the NL lead in wins with San Francisco’s Matt Cain(notes), St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright(notes) and New York’s Johan Santana(notes).

In Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the New York Mets, Marquis showed no problem with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand that caused him to miss his previous start. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings for his fifth straight quality start.

“I was excited to know that my finger didn’t hurt and it didn’t affect the way that I pitched,” he told the Rockies’ official Web site.

This is Marquis’ first start against the Reds since allowing two runs, five hits and five walks in 7 1-3 innings of a 14-9 win for the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 6. He is 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA in three starts versus Cincinnati since 2007.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Marquis Cin vs. B. Arroyo LAD
15-13 Record 15-13
4.04 ERA 3.84
115 K 127
80 BB 65
1.38 WHIP 1.27


Sunday, Aug 2