The Rockies haven’t won a road series in two months, but the left-hander will be looking to improve to 4-0 in San Francisco in Monday night’s opener.
Colorado (68-61) is still in the playoff race thanks to a 43-21 home record, and the club has been especially good at Coors Field over the past month. The Rockies won for the 12th time in 15 games at Denver on Sunday, getting a pair of homers from Carlos Gonzalez(notes) in a 10-5 win over Los Angeles.
Colorado heads to the Bay Area 4 1/2 games behind wild-card leading Philadelphia, and within three of the Giants (72-59).
The Rockies know they will have to overcome some recent struggles on the road, where they are 7-17 since the All-Star break. Colorado has not won a road set since June 28-30 against San Diego.
“We have to forget about the past,” said Gonzalez, hitting .436 with 15 homers at home since July 1 but .269 with two homers on the road in that span. “This is an opportunity for us to change everything and play well on the road. We all know we’re running out of time. This is the time for us.”
De La Rosa (5-4, 4.54 ERA) is 1-2 with a 5.74 ERA in five road starts, but he might be the ideal candidate to end Colorado’s woes. The left-hander has gone 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA in three starts at San Francisco.
He gave up two runs over seven innings of a 5-2 win over visiting Atlanta on Tuesday, and has gone 2-2 with a 3.43 ERA in his last seven outings.
“Jorge De La Rosa is throwing the ball very reminiscent of what we saw an awful lot of last year,” Tracy told the Rockies’ official website, referring to the pitcher’s 10-2 second half in 2009.
Though De La Rosa has consistently performed well in San Francisco, Gonzalez hasn’t. He’s 4 for 26 (.154) without an extra-base hit at AT&T Park in 2010 as Colorado has split six games there.
Gonzalez is 0 for 8 with three strikeouts against Jonathan Sanchez(notes) (9-8, 3.67). The left-hander struck out nine and allowed three hits over six innings of a 10-0 win at Coors Field on Aug. 3, but is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA since.
Sanchez gave up five runs and six hits - three homers - over 4 1-3 innings against Cincinnati on Tuesday, but got a boost from his offense in a 16-5 win.
That tied San Francisco with Philadelphia atop the wild-card standings, but the Giants are now facing a 1 1/2-game deficit. They avoided being swept by last-place Arizona with a 9-7 win Sunday, while the Phillies’ victory in San Diego cut San Francisco’s division deficit to five.
“We just don’t do anything easy,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had our hands full in this series. The last thing we wanted to do was get swept.”
Rookie catcher Buster Posey(notes) was kept out of a second straight game Sunday due to a strained left elbow, but could return Monday. Posey, hitting .387 (12 for 31) against Colorado, has never faced De La Rosa.