Diamondbacks-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

The Colorado Rockies may have thought opening a 10-game homestand would get them untracked and back over .500.

Things have only become worse.

The Rockies will now define success as avoiding being swept at home by the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time in over six years Thursday night.

Colorado (28-30) is among the best home teams in baseball at 16-9, and its .338 average, 40 homers and 6.6 runs per game are big reasons behind that mark.

The resulting confidence stemming from those numbers no doubt led the Rockies to believe they would shake their recent slump with a return to Coors Field. Instead, their troubles have continued as the club lost its first two games against Arizona (25-36) and extended their overall losing streak to six games for the first time since a nine-game slide from Sept. 15-23, 2012.

As if the losses weren't enough, starter Jordan Lyles broke his left - non-pitching - hand in the first inning of Wednesday night's 16-8 loss while attempting to tag out Martin Prado at home after a wild pitch.

Lyles left after the fourth, and he was placed on the disabled list hours before this game.

"With the streak we've been on, to have Lyles break his hand, it's unfortunate," said Troy Tulowitzki, who leads the majors with a .354 average. "We've had a lot of hand injuries."

The Rockies were already without Carlos Gonzalez, who was placed on the disabled list earlier in the day with an inflamed left index finger. They've also had third baseman Nolan Arenado (fractured finger) on the DL since May 24.

Now, the Rockies are on the verge of being swept in a three-game set at home by their NL West rival for the first time since April 4-6, 2008, despite the efforts of a red-hot Tulowitzki.

The shortstop is batting .480 over his past 14 meetings with the Diamondbacks, and he's had a double and homer among his four hits and three RBIs in the series.

Yet he's been outshined by Arizona's Miguel Montero and Paul Goldschmidt. Montero had three hits and a career-high six RBIs on Wednesday, while Goldschmidt drove in four runs while getting three hits of his own.

The first baseman is 11 for 22 over his past five meetings with Colorado.

Another big effort at the plate may be needed since Diamondbacks starter Bronson Arroyo (4-4, 4.39 ERA) is 1-2 with an 11.15 ERA over his last four starts at Coors. He was hammered in his most recent visit with the Reds on Aug. 30, giving up six runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings in a 9-6 loss.

Arroyo has also struggled with Tulowitzki, who is 6 for 13 with two homers off him.

The right-hander comes into Thursday's matchup 0-2 with a 4.95 ERA over his last three games after winning each of his previous three while yielding one earned run in 23 1-3 innings.

His recent struggles continued Friday, when he allowed a grand slam in the second inning before settling down and allowing one run over the next five of a 6-4 loss to Cincinnati.

The Rockies will counter with Juan Nicasio (5-3, 4.06). Nicasio is 3-0 with a 3.60 ERA in six home starts, compiling a 2.50 ERA while winning both of his decisions over his last three there.

The right-hander was victimized by a big inning on the road Friday, when four of five runs he allowed came in the fifth before he was pulled with two outs in a 5-2 loss at Cleveland.

Nicasio was impressive against Arizona on April 4, yielding one run and four hits in seven innings of a 12-2 win. However, he still sports a 7.29 ERA while splitting two decisions over five home starts against the Rockies.

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