Colorado (82-69) at Arizona (61-91)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Thu Sep 23, 2010
  • TV: FSRM, FSAZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A three-game series against the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks appeared to be an ideal chance for the Colorado Rockies to further tighten the NL West race.

Instead, they’re on the verge of being swept.

The Rockies will try to end an untimely three-game slide when they conclude their series with the Diamondbacks on Thursday night.

Colorado (82-69) is third in the West, three games back of first-place San Diego and 2 1/2 behind San Francisco for second. The wild card is another possibility. Right now the Braves own that spot, three games in front of Colorado.

The Rockies host the Giants for three games this weekend, but they’ve made their work much more difficult by losing the first two games of this series to Arizona (61-91), already assured of a second consecutive last-place finish.

Colorado fell 8-4 to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday despite sending ace Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) to the mound.

The Rockies, who haven’t lost four in a row since an eight-game skid July 21-28, have dropped six of eight at Chase Field this season.

“We need to take a major step forward (Thursday) because you certainly wouldn’t feel too good about yourselves from a momentum standpoint going home after getting swept here, that’s for sure,” manager Jim Tracy said. “(Thursday’s) a very, very big game for us.”

Jeff Francis(notes) (4-5, 4.61 ERA) will try to come up big in his second start since coming off the disabled list.

The veteran left-hander, who has landed on the DL twice this season with shoulder problems after missing all of last year due to recovery from surgery, is looking to prove he can be a reliable arm down the stretch.

“It’s experience,” Francis told the Rockies’ official website. “I pitched in some big games before for this team. I think they feel comfortable having me out there. I think I can make some big contributions.”

Francis, whose pitch counts are being limited, was pulled after throwing 62 pitches in three innings in his most recent outing Sept. 13. He allowed two runs in a 6-4 loss to the Padres.

Francis is 0-4 with an 8.68 ERA in his last five starts against the Diamondbacks, but hasn’t faced them in more than two years.

Arizona will counter with Ian Kennedy(notes) (9-9, 3.79), who is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 46 innings over his last seven starts.

A lack of offensive support has prevented the right-hander from winning his last three outings despite a 0.45 ERA in that span. Kennedy was solid again Friday, yielding one earned run in six innings of a 4-3 defeat at Pittsburgh. Five days earlier, he held the Rockies to two hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-2 defeat.

“It’s tough, but you could say I did my job to try to help the team win,” he said.

Kennedy is 0-1 with a 3.68 ERA in four starts against the Rockies - all of them coming this year.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Francis Tor vs. I. Kennedy SD
4-6 Record 9-10
5.00 ERA 3.80
67 K 168
23 BB 70
1.36 WHIP 1.20

Scoreboard

Thursday, Sep 23