A two-game series in the middle of April usually doesn't carry much significance in a 162-game baseball season.
However, the Rockies' two games against the San Diego Padres this week carry some importance for both teams, particularly after Colorado's 5-2 win Monday night.
Following two straight trips to the playoffs, Colorado was 3-12 before winning its past two games.
And while the Padres just completed a 7-3 road trip, they are only 4-4 after their first eight home games. San Diego is one game into an eight-game homestand that sees the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners follow the Rockies into Petco Park.
If the Padres are to be in contention for a playoff berth come August or September, they best start winning at home and beating the teams and defeating their National League West rivals.
"Colorado was a playoff team the past two years," Padres manager Andy Green said before Monday night's series opener. "It's not who you play, it's when you play them. They haven't clicked offensively. But we understand the team they have. They still have Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story, a real lineup that if you make mistakes will bite you.
"They're the team that's been to the playoffs. They're the team that we need to knock off consistently if we want to end up in that spot."
Arenado and Ian Desmond homered Monday for the Rockies, who got 6 2/3 strong innings from Antonio Senzatela, who won his season debut as he returned from a heel ailment.
The Padres will try again Tuesday night with rookie left-hander Nick Margevicius (1-1, 1.69 ERA) taking the mound against Colorado right-hander Jon Gray (0-3, 4.19).
Margevicius, 22, will be making his fourth major league start after having never pitched a regular-season game above the Class-A level coming into the 2019 season. This will also be his first start against the Rockies.
The 6-foot-4, 224-pound Margevicius was a seventh-round pick in the 2017 draft out of Rider University. In his first three starts for San Diego, he has allowed three runs on nine hits and a walk with 12 strikeouts in 16 innings.
He has surrendered exactly one run in each of his first three starts, becoming only the fourth Padre to accomplish the feat.
Gray, 27, is seeking his first win since last Sept. 24 and his first road win since defeating the Padres last Sept. 1 at Petco Park.
The Padres could be the perfect opponent for Gray as he looks to snap out of his early-season slump. He is 7-1 against the Padres since Sept. 17, 2016, with a 2.56 ERA in nine starts, and he has a career 8-3 record against San Diego with a 2.69 ERA, a 0.985 WHIP and a .224 opponents' batting average in 15 starts.
Gray owns a 4-2 record at Petco Park with a 2.63 ERA, a 1.073 WHIP and a .229 opponents' batting average in seven starts. He has won each of his past three starts in San Diego while compiling a 1.42 ERA.
"I've always liked pitching in San Diego," Gray said last Sept. 1 after holding the Padres to two runs on seven hits and a walk over six innings. "I like the mound."
Four of Gray's 13 games with double-digit strikeout counts have come against the Padres.
--Field Level Media