The Cincinnati Reds went into the All-Star break on a positive note. They haven't slowed down since the second half started.
The NL Central leaders will try to extend their longest winning streak in two seasons to eight when they face the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
The Reds (58-40) won three straight at San Diego to end the first half one game out of first place. Cincinnati has maintained that momentum, going 11-2 since the break, and the club is on the verge of its first eight-game run since May 31-June 8, 2006.
"I think it's just the combination of us playing good baseball and getting lucky bounces," center fielder Drew Stubbs told the Reds' official website. "That's the formula to winning a championship. I'm not saying at this point it's going to happen, but that's the type of stuff it takes to do it."
Stubbs went 7 for 15 with a homer and five RBIs in a three-game sweep at Houston to start the week.
Bronson Arroyo (5-6, 3.98 ERA) has been mostly strong over his past five starts, going 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA, and he bounced back from his one rough outing in that span his last time out. The right-hander pitched six innings of two-run ball in a 6-2 win over Milwaukee on Saturday after lasting a season-low three innings and giving up five runs in a 5-3 loss to Arizona on July 16.
"I feel like I'm the weakest link in the rotation right now," he said. "... That being said, I feel like I've thrown pretty good about 16 times (out of 19 starts)."
Reds starters have posted a 2.72 ERA during the winning streak, but improving that number could be a challenge as Arroyo is 0-2 with an 8.84 ERA in four starts at Coors Field. It's his highest ERA at any ballpark he's pitched at more than three times.
The Rockies (37-60) open a stretch of nine straight in Denver following a 2-4 trip that ended with a 4-2 win over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
Colorado will try to win two in a row for the first time since July 8 and 13 with Drew Pomeranz (1-5, 4.98) taking the mound. The left-hander had his last turn skipped due to arm soreness.
"We wanted to make sure that physically nothing is wrong and get him back out there," manager Jim Tracy told the Rockies' official website of Pomeranz, who gave up a career-high seven runs in three innings of a 9-5 road loss to the Padres last Friday.
This will be the first time Pomeranz faces Cincinnati since throwing five scoreless innings in his major league debut, a 4-1 victory Sept. 11 in the teams' last game in Denver.
The Rockies have won 20 of their last 25 at home against the Reds.
All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, 5 for 11 off Arroyo, will return to Colorado's lineup after getting Wednesday off. He was 4 for 21 (.190) with seven strikeouts on the trip, but he's batting .429 with eight homers and 24 RBIs during a 25-game home hitting streak.
Rookie shortstop Josh Rutledge gets his first look at Reds pitching after going 10 for 25 with a homer, triple and three doubles on the just-completed trip.
The Reds have gone 8-2 without All-Star first baseman Joey Votto, who's out with a torn meniscus.