Padres-Rockies Preview

TOM CASTRO (STATS Senior Editor)

It's almost certainly too late for the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies to make the postseason, but neither team is playing like they believe that.

The Padres and Rockies, the bottom two teams in the NL West, open a three-game series at Coors Field on Friday night in a matchup of surging clubs.

San Diego (61-71) won for the ninth time in 10 games Wednesday, 8-2 over wild card-leading Atlanta.

Red-hot Chase Headley hit a two-run single, giving him 30 RBIs in August. He's the eighth Padres player to get that many in a month.

"If you're producing runs, regardless of how you're producing runs, I think you're going to be effective," said Headley, who has 10 home runs in August. "I feel like this month I've had so many opportunities. We've had a lot of guys do a really good job and put a lot of pressure on the pitchers."

The Padres are scoring 3.8 runs per game on the season - fourth-worst in the majors - but have averaged 5.3 over the past 11 contests while batting .316.

While Headley has helped carry San Diego offensively, Clayton Richard (11-12, 3.72 ERA) has been just as good on the mound this month, going 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA in five starts. The left-hander went at least eight innings in three of his last four outings and ranks second in the NL with 184 innings pitched.

"He prides himself on his endurance, his stamina and his conditioning," manager Bud Black told the team's official website.

Richard, though, has struggled badly at Coors Field, going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in five career starts. He gave up eight runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-4 loss there April 18.

While San Diego is at best a longshot to make the playoffs, trailing by double-digit games in the wild-card and division races, Colorado (53-76) has almost no chance to reach the postseason. The Rockies have hardly seemed discouraged by that of late, however, winning eight of 11.

Colorado couldn't complete a three-game sweep of Los Angeles on Wednesday, falling 10-8. Even that defeat was somewhat encouraging, as the Rockies nearly erased a 10-1 deficit with a seven-run eighth inning.

"We know we can score runs, we find a way to put runs on the board," left fielder Carlos Gonzalez said. " ... That was a great run, a great effort for the guys. We still got the series, so that's a good thing."

Colorado scored 26 runs in the set against the Dodgers as Tyler Colvin went 5 for 13 with six RBIs.

The Rockies will send Alex White (2-6, 5.49) to the mound Friday. Working on the team's plan to limit starters' workloads, White has pitched four innings in each of his last five starts and posted a 3.60 ERA. He gave up two earned runs in a 4-3 victory over Chicago on Saturday.

The right-hander has faced San Diego twice - both times on the road - with the only one this season coming May 8. White pitched 6 1-3 innings of two-run ball in a 3-1 defeat.

Headley has batted .321 during a seven-game hitting streak versus Colorado and .410 in his last 11 at Coors.

San Diego's bullpen, which has a 1.59 ERA in the past seven games, is expected to get left-hander Joe Thatcher back for Friday's game and closer Huston Street by Sunday.