The Colorado Rockies had their 10-game home winning streak snapped Wednesday, yet came away feeling a little lucky.
The loss could have been worse had All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado suffered a serious injury when he was hit by a pitch by Chicago Cubs starter Cole Hamels in the third inning. Arenado left the game in the fifth but X-rays were negative.
Arenado hopes to be in the lineup Thursday when Colorado opens a four-game home series against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field.
"It all depends how I wake up, how I feel swinging (Thursday)," Arenado told reporters after the Rockies' 10-1 loss to the Cubs. "My plan is to play. But we'll see how I feel."
Arenado is having another MVP-worthy season, leading the team in home runs (17) and RBIs (57) and sitting second in average (.330). He has helped carry the team from a 3-12 start to second in the National League West despite a shaky rotation.
Right-hander Jon Gray will get the nod in the first game against San Diego. Gray (5-5, 4.27 ERA) has pitched well at Coors Field, going 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts. He has been even better over the last four starts there (2-0, 1.88).
He'll try to bounce back after a rough start at the New York Mets on Saturday, when he allowed four runs on eight hits and walked three in 5 2/3 innings. Colorado needs a bounce-back start after Antonio Senzatela's poor outing in the loss to the Cubs (eight runs -- six earned -- on eight hits in four innings).
Gray has pitched well against the Padres over the years. In 17 career starts against them, he is 9-3 with a 2.70 ERA. He is expected to go up against San Diego left-hander Matt Strahm (2-5, 4.03). Strahm has faced the Rockies three times in his career, all in relief, and has not given up a run in four total innings.
Strahm, sidelined with a rib injury that he initially tried to pitch through, is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list before the game.
"It's something I was dealing with and I just need to let it calm down," Strahm said last week. "It's just kind of the pain tolerance you try to throw through and that's what I was trying to do. Looking at how long the year is and where we're at in the year, it was smart to be good to go before my next start."
The Padres come into the pivotal four-game series having lost four straight, most recently a 4-2 setback in San Francisco on Wednesday. The Rockies will not face San Diego's dynamic rookie Chris Paddack, who was optioned to Class-A Lake Elsinore on Wednesday to preserve his right arm and have him work on pitches. Paddack had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and hasn't pitched more than 90 innings in a professional season. He has logged 65 2/3 so far this year.
"We've talked all year long about understanding that Chris had some limitations when it came from pitching from the first day of the season to the last day of the season," Padres manager Andy Greene said Wednesday. "We're cognizant of that. This is a good time to get some work done and get some rest at the same time."
--Field Level Media