Although the Colorado Rockies are starting to string together some victories, they’re more focused on the future than the playoffs.
They made that especially clear by shipping off their opening day starter at the non-waiver trade deadline.
The Rockies will get their first glimpse of one of the four players acquired in the Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) trade when Alex White(notes) takes the ball Tuesday night against the Houston Astros, hoping to lead Colorado to its first four-game winning streak in two months.
The Rockies (61-68) defeated the Astros 9-5 in Monday’s series opener to pull within 8 1/2 games of NL West-leading Arizona, but with only 33 contests remaining their margin for error is minimal. Facing a 10-game deficit July 31, Colorado traded Jimenez - last season’s NL starter for the All-Star game - to Cleveland for four minor leaguers.
White, the 15th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of North Carolina, is considered one of the top players acquired by the Rockies in the deal. The 22-year-old right-hander made three starts for the Indians, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA before being put on the disabled list with right middle finger soreness May 21.
There didn’t appear to be any lingering problems with the finger as White went 1-1 with 1.65 ERA in four rehab starts for Double-A Tulsa, striking out 10 and walking one in 16 1-3 innings.
“I feel great,” he told the Rockies’ official website. “The biggest concern with the rehab was getting the arm back in shape, and we’ve done that. My arm feels very good. Getting back to 100 percent, we’re right at that.
“I feel like I’ve been on the DL now for three months, and it’s just a good feeling to be back healthy and be helping this team.”
White will be joining a Colorado team that has won three straight games for the first time since July 27-30, and is seeking its first four-game winning streak since June 14-18.
Norris gave up three runs and six hits in five innings of Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander won for the first time since July 6 after going 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his first six starts coming out of the All-Star break.
Norris has been sharp in his last five outings away from Houston, going 1-1 with a 1.11 ERA - the majors’ third-best road ERA in that stretch. It could be difficult for him to continue that trend, however, as Colorado leads the NL in runs at home (370) and is averaging 6.7 runs through the first seven games of a nine-game homestand.
The Astros (42-86) opened a seven-game trip Monday, and lost for the seventh straight time away from Houston. They’re a major league-worst 3-19 on the road since July 7.
Brian Bogusevic(notes), one of four rookies to start for Houston on Monday, had three hits - including a homer - and is 6 for 13 with three home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs in his last five games.