Diamondbacks-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

The Colorado Rockies' up-and-down offense has contributed to a shaky start, and their defense hasn't been much better.

They'll likely need improvement in both facets of the game to cool off the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-game series starting Friday night at Coors Field.

The Rockies (2-4) totaled 10 runs during a 1-3 start, but chased Tim Lincecum and pounded out 22 hits Wednesday in a 17-8 rout of San Francisco.

However, they couldn't sustain that sort of production Thursday against Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, falling 4-2 in the series finale.

"It's funny and it's baseball,'' Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "Probably not too many people expected the offensive outburst (Wednesday) with Lincecum pitching and then today everybody's probably thinking well, they hit Lincecum well and Bumgarner, they're probably going to do the same. And baseball doesn't work like that.''

Committing two more errors - including a costly dropped fly ball by Dexter Fowler in the sixth inning that led to two unearned runs - also didn't help matters, bringing Colorado's season total to eight.

"Couple of errors. Not great defense,'' Tulowitzki said.

The Rockies have lost 16 of their last 21 meetings with Arizona (5-1), which is off to its best six-game start since 2000 after beating San Diego 3-1 on Thursday.

Chris Young homered for the second straight game. He has a hit in each contest this season, going 8 for 22 (.364) with three doubles, three homers and seven RBIs.

Ian Kennedy struck out nine in six innings Thursday to help the Diamondbacks take two of three in the series.

"If you're not in the moment, it can get out of hand,'' Kennedy said.

Daniel Hudson will try to deliver another solid outing for the Arizona staff, but may not be fortunate enough to win again if he offers up a repeat of his season debut. The right-hander allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings Saturday but got credit for a 5-4 victory over San Francisco. He's 1-2 with a 2.73 ERA in four career starts against Colorado, but earned the lone win the last time he faced the Rockies - a 5-1 victory Aug. 29 in which he threw seven scoreless innings.

Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who went 1 for 4 on Thursday after having two triples, a career-high four runs scored and four RBIs the previous night, is 1 for 7 lifetime against Hudson.

The Rockies will counter with Juan Nicasio, who yielded one run and five hits over seven innings Sunday but wound up without a decision as Colorado fell 3-2 at Houston. It nonetheless marked a successful return his first outing since being struck by a line drive that broke his neck Aug. 5.

"I wasn't nervous, I was feeling good,'' Nicasio said after Sunday's outing. "Thank you God, because I wanted to have the opportunity to get to the mound, I want to go to compete. Just get it out of the way. It's time.''

The right-hander has never faced the Diamondbacks, but he was 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA at Coors Field as a rookie last season before getting injured.

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