The San Diego Padres are starting to show some signs of life offensively.
The Colorado Rockies are mired in one of their worst offensive slumps of the season.
In a matchup of teams heading in opposite directions, the Padres look to win for the eighth time in 10 games in Monday night’s series opener against a Rockies team trying to avoid its 13th loss in 17 contests.
With Sunday’s 7-2 win over Houston, San Diego (27-33) won its third in a row and plated its most runs since an 8-4 victory over Arizona on May 16. The Padres have averaged 4.2 runs while batting .259 in winning seven of nine after averaging 1.3 runs and hitting .183 in losing eight of 10.
“We have been playing a lot better, more like we are capable of playing and how we want to play,” said Chase Headley(notes), who is batting .345 with five RBIs during a career-high 15-game hitting streak. “Fortunately, we didn’t play bad enough that we played ourselves out of it early. We are still within striking distance. I like the way we’re playing.”
The Padres are last in the NL West, but within 6 1/2 games of first-place San Francisco, the smallest division deficit for any last-place team. Improving their play in San Diego would certainly help the Padres’ chances in the division race.
San Diego is an NL-worst 12-21 at home, and went 2-7 against the Rockies last season at Petco Park.
The Padres took two of three from the Rockies at Coors Field from May 13-15, scoring 24 runs while batting .296. Ryan Ludwick(notes) hit .364 with a homer and five RBIs, while Brad Hawpe(notes) went 4 for 8 with a home run and three RBIs against his former team.
The Rockies’ bats have been pretty quiet ever since.
Colorado (27-31) was limited to four hits in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Giants - its 12th defeat in 16 games - and has scored three or fewer runs in 11 of its last 12.
“Got to hit, that’s all I’ve got,” manager Jim Tracy said. “You give up two runs, you should win. It’s that simple. We gave up six runs in the series but we only scored four.”
Helton and his teammates hope to turn things around against scheduled starter Clayton Richard(notes) (2-6, 4.52 ERA), who allowed three runs, eight hits and four walks in 4 2-3 innings in Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to Atlanta.
This will be Richard’s first start of the season against the Rockies after facing them six times in 2010. The left-hander went 1-2 with a 6.15 ERA, including 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three home starts.
Helton is batting .429 lifetime against Richard, while Tulowitzki is hitting .583 with three homers in 12 at-bats against him.
Mortensen allowed a season-high five runs, five hits and four walks over four innings in Tuesday’s 8-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander, who failed to record a strikeout for the first time this season, has recorded a 5.94 ERA in losing his last three starts.