The Arizona Diamondbacks have surged above .500 thanks to outstanding starting pitching.
The Colorado Rockies’ slump has them on the brink of falling below the break-even mark for the first time since the start of the season.
The red-hot Diamondbacks look to continue capitalizing on the stumbling Rockies in the conclusion of a four-game series at Coors Field on Thursday night.
Arizona (25-24) has won 10 of 12 to move above .500 for the first time since winning its season opener, 7-6 in 11 innings at Colorado (24-24) on April 1.
That was also the last time the Rockies had a losing record.
The Diamondbacks have won the last two games in this series, including a 2-1 victory Wednesday.
“Our team’s playing well. I really like how our team looks,” said Ian Kennedy(notes), who allowed one run in eight innings to get the win Wednesday after Joe Saunders(notes) gave up two runs over eight innings in a 5-2 win in the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Arizona’s rotation is playing particularly well, posting a 2.56 ERA over the last 12 games while allowing two earned runs or fewer in nine of them.
The right-hander, who made his major league debut for the Diamondbacks in 2007 but was dealt to Cincinnati on Sept. 12, 2008, allowed four runs - three earned - and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings while not getting a decision in a 9-6 win over Minnesota on Saturday.
He hadn’t started in the majors since 2009 with Cincinnati and spent all of last season as a reliever for the Reds. He signed a minor-league deal to return to the Diamondbacks organization in January.
Owings has won both of his career starts against the Rockies, yielding one run and seven hits with 14 strikeouts in 12 2-3 innings, all in 2008.
This time, he’s facing a team that’s dropped five of six and 14 of 20. Colorado has scored two runs or fewer in four of its last five games, with the lone exception a 12-4 victory in the opener of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
“I personally feel we are a better offensive team than this,” manager Jim Tracy said. “But over the course of a period of time here, we’ll find out whether I’m right or wrong.”
All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki(notes) may be back in the lineup after getting a day off Wednesday, but he’s 2 for 38 over his last nine games against Arizona, and 0 for 3 with two strikeouts lifetime versus Owings.
Tulowitzki is batting .212 over his last 13 games, dropping his season average 82 points to .244.
Clayton Mortensen(notes) (1-1, 2.17) gets the ball for Colorado, looking to bolster his case to remain in the rotation once Aaron Cook(notes) (broken right hand) is back from a rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Tulsa.
“He’s making all kinds of compelling arguments,” Tracy told the team’s official website of Mortensen. “He’s been nothing short of terrific.”
The right-hander got charged with Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Milwaukee but pitched respectably, allowing three runs - two earned - and five hits in 6 2-3 innings.