On a day filled with bad news (Nicasio out for season, Nelson in hospital for irregular heart beat), the sky’s have begun to rain upon Coors before tonight’s first of three with Clint Hurdle’s Pittsburgh Pirates.
Colorado comes into this series having lost four-straight three-game home series. Following this series the Rockies will have an off day on Thursday, then travel to San Diego to begin a 6-game road trip at SD (7/20-22) and at ARI (7/23-25).
Jim Tracy has altered his usual lineup by moving Carlos Gonzalez to cleanup behind Pacheco, who will be batting third.
Left-handed pitcher Jeff Francis will make his eighth start of 2012 tonight for Colorado. Francis is 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA (26.0 ip, 8 er), 3 walks and 16 strikeouts in his last five starts, since 6/21.
The Pirates will start right-handed pitcher Jeff Karstens. Tonight will be just his seventh start of the season. He is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA (20.0 ip, 8 er) in three starts since returning from the DL on 6/25. This will be Karsten’s first career starting assignment against the Rockies, as each of his previous three appearances vs. COL came in relief.
This 3-game series vs. the Pirates will wrap up the season series between the two teams. Pittsburgh took the first series of 2012 2-games-1, 4/23-25. The Rockies and Pirates played a doubleheader on 4/25, with the Rockies winning game one, and the Pirates winning game two. The Rox are 83-79 all-time vs. PIT, however, Colorado has dropped each of the last two series these two teams have played at Coors Field, since 2010. The Rockies are 45-31 all-time vs. PIT in Denver.
Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler had two hits yesterday for the second-straight game. In fact, yesterday was Fowler’s sixth multi-hit game in his last seven games total, since 7/5. Since 7/5, Fowler has hit safely in six of his seven games with a a batting average of .464 (13-for-28) with 1 double, 1 home run, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. Fowler’s hot streak can be stretched back as far as 6/20 at PHI. Since that date he is batting .390 (32-for-82) with 4 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs, 7 RBI, 12 runs and a 1.073 OPS (.451 OBP, .622 SLG). Fowler has reached base safely 41 times in the 22 games since 6/20, the 4th-highest total in the NL behind two Pirates (Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker) and former Rockie Matt Holliday.
• Fowler owns a .924 OPS this season, as he ranks 9th in the NL in both on-base percentage (.387) and slugging percentage (.536). Fowler’s .924 OPS is the 5th-highest OPS among MLB center fielders.
• Fowler also owns a .901 OPS since after the All-Star break in 2011. His .901 OPS since 7/14/11 (first day after 2011 All-Star break) is the 3rdhighest for a MLB center fielder.