Colorado (83-65) at Arizona (65-83)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 83° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Sat Sep 19, 2009
  • TV: FSRM
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Colorado Rockies’ recent struggles at the plate are not helping them increase their NL wild-card lead.

Looking to build off an improved offensive effort, the visiting Rockies try to avoid a second straight loss to the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

Colorado (83-65) scored more than four runs for the first time in seven games, but fell 7-5 in Friday’s series opener at Arizona.

The Rockies are 2-5 on a nine-game road trip where they previously dropped two of three at San Diego and San Francisco. Colorado’s lead in the wild card dropped to 2 1/2 games over the Giants, who beat NL West-leader Los Angeles 8-4 on Friday.

While the Rockies have a 5.61 ERA on the road swing, they are batting .183 and averaging 3.0 runs.

“I think we’re going to be all right,” catcher Yorvit Torrealba(notes) told the Rockies’ official Web site. “We’re just going to have streaks like this. I don’t think we need to change our whole approach or anything like that. We’ll get out of this.”

Torrealba and Troy Tulowitzki(notes) are among the few Rockies who have hit well on the trip.

Tulowitzki homered in his third straight game Friday and is batting .375 on the road swing. Torrealba, meanwhile, had two hits and is batting .348 with six RBIs in the last seven contests.

Though star first baseman Todd Helton(notes) is 1 for 20 on the trip, the Rockies could be dealt a serious blow if he’s unable to play after being hit in the shin by a foul ball Friday.

“I’ll be sore,” Helton said. “But I think I’m fine.”

With or without Helton, Colorado has a chance to break out against Arizona’s scheduled starter Max Scherzer(notes) (9-9, 4.05 ERA), who’s never beaten the Rockies.

The right-hander, who’s 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA in three starts against the Rockies, has enjoyed a solid first full season as a starter. Scherzer allowed one run and three hits in six innings, but didn’t receive a decision after the Diamondbacks’ bullpen yielded four runs in a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday.

“It’s a shame for our team that we can’t find a way to win a game when your starter gives you the chances that he did,” Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said.

Colorado counters with Jason Hammel(notes) (8-8, 4.28 ERA) as he tries for his first win in a month while looking to avoid losing his second straight start.

The right-hander allowed four runs in six innings of a 9-1 loss at San Francisco on Monday to fall to 0-1 with a 3.73 ERA in five starts since beating Washington on Aug. 20.

In his only previous start against Arizona, Hammel gave up four runs in six innings, but didn’t receive a decision during a 5-4 win Sept. 4.

Rookie Gerardo Parra(notes) had two hits off Hammel in that contest and doubled in the go-ahead runs Friday for the Diamondbacks (65-83), who’ve won three of four after snapping a four-game losing streak to the Rockies.

The 22-year-old outfielder is batting .313 against Colorado.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Hammel Oak vs. M. Scherzer Det
10-8 Record 9-11
4.33 ERA 4.12
133 K 174
42 BB 63
1.39 WHIP 1.34

Scoreboard

Saturday, Sep 19