On Wednesday afternoon, they’ll get a personal audition.
Rodriguez takes the hill for what could be the final time in an Astros uniform in this series finale at Coors Field, where he’ll face the team he could soon be joining.
Rodriguez (9-9, 3.31 ERA) has pitched in 199 games - making 190 starts - over a seven-year major league career with the Astros (42-87). His 200th appearance could be his final one with the organization that signed him as a minor league free agent in 1999.
Shopped at the trade deadline but ultimately not moved, Rodriguez on Tuesday was claimed on waivers by the Rockies (62-68), who seem to be prepared to take on the $37 million remaining on the right-hander’s contract through 2014.
The clubs have until 1 p.m. ET on Thursday to agree to a trade involving personnel, or Houston could pull Rodriguez back and wait until the offseason to revisit a trade where it wouldn’t have to deal solely with Colorado. Also possible, but unlikely, is the Astros letting him go directly to the Rockies in exchange for a $20,000 waiver claim.
“It’s hard, because I’m thinking about what’s going on with me right now, if they’re going to trade me, or do I stay?” Rodriguez told the Astros’ official website. “This is hard, pitching (Wednesday), because I don’t know what’s going on with me.”
That could make this start a de facto audition, though the Rockies may not need any more evidence than a few of his recent outings. Rodriguez hasn’t allowed a run in two of his last three starts, holding San Francisco to five hits over eight innings in a 6-0 victory Friday.
“If we get Wandy, it’s going to be great for us,” outfielder Carlos Gonzalez(notes) said. “He’s a good pitcher. He’s a great competitor, and I’m sure if he comes here, he’ll be happy and ready to help us.”
Colorado, which trails NL West-leading Arizona by 8 1/2 games, won its fourth in a row Tuesday, getting five extra-base hits - including Jonathan Herrera’s(notes) tiebreaking, two-run homer in the seventh - in an 8-6 victory.
“The message is clear,” said Gonzalez, who has an eight-game RBI streak in which he’s driven in 15. “We’re still alive. … I’m really excited about the way we’re playing right now.”
Rodriguez is 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA in his last five starts versus Colorado, but he’s fared well against the Rockies’ two best hitters. Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki(notes) are a combined 1 for 12 off Rodriguez, though Todd Helton(notes) is 11 for 25.
Aaron Cook(notes) (3-7, 5.23) gets the ball for Colorado coming off one of his better outings of the season. The right-handed sinkerballer gave up three runs over 7 2-3 innings last Wednesday against Florida, with the only damage in his 12-5 victory coming on a pair of eighth-inning homers.
Cook is 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA in nine career starts against Houston, though he’ll be seeing much of the Astros’ young lineup for the first time. Carlos Lee(notes) does have considerable experience against Cook, going 4 for 17 with a homer.