There probably aren’t many teams that can intimidate Colorado Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) right now. The Cincinnati Reds don’t have the resume to scare any clubs, but they certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Jimenez, seeking his fifth straight win at home, leads the Rockies on Monday when they try to end the Reds’ seven-game winning streak.
Colorado (77-60) opens this four-game set with its top starter on the mound. Jimenez (13-10, 3.28 ERA) has posted a 1.47 ERA in winning his last four starts at Coors Field, where pitchers traditionally struggle, and he’s 6-1 with a 1.84 ERA in his last seven outings overall.
“You’re looking at a future Cy Young winner,” Rockies veteran Jason Giambi(notes) said. “If he can get his whole game together: overpowering fastball, great stuff, great mound presence. Yeah, he’s definitely one of those guys who has the potential to be phenomenal in this league. The ball explodes out of his hand.”
The right-hander faced the New York Mets at Coors Field in his last start, giving up two runs in eight innings of a 5-2 Colorado victory Wednesday night.
Jimenez is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three career starts versus the Reds (63-73), who have lost five straight against the Rockies dating back to last season.
Cincinnati, though, is a win away from its first eight-game winning streak since May 31-June 8, 2006. The Reds are ranked 29th in the majors in runs scored with 546, but have averaged 5.0 while winning 12 of their last 14.
Drew Stubbs(notes) had three hits and an RBI as Cincinnati beat Atlanta 4-2 in 12 innings Sunday, sweeping a three-game series with a Braves team desperately trying to remain in the NL wild-card hunt.
Colorado, the leader in that race, has a seven-game advantage over Atlanta and increased its edge over San Francisco to two games after beating Arizona 13-5 on Sunday. The Rockies swept that three-game set and have won five of six.
“I feel good at the plate, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t feel awesome,” Smith said. “I don’t feel as good as what’s been happening out there. You get lucky once in a while and that’s kind of what makes you hot. Right now I’m just going to ride it out.”
The right-hander gave up three runs and set a career high with eight strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings of Cincinnati’s 5-3 win over Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Bailey, however, has lost each of his two starts against the Rockies, posting an 8.10 ERA.