Colorado Rockies Welcome Back Pittsburgh For One Game
By Kevin Henry
Here’s hoping the Pittsburgh Pirates are getting some good frequent flyer perks for visiting the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
In one of the stranger scheduling moments in recent seasons, the Pirates will play a one-game “series” against the Rockies at Coors Field on Thursday afternoon. After being postponed by inclement weather on April 28, the game was slotted during an off day (June 9) for both teams. The decision worked out much better for the Rockies than Pittsburgh.
Colorado finished up a six-game road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles on Wednesday night and begins a three-game series at home with the Padres on Friday. Despite losing an off day and getting in late on Thursday night, playing at home on Thursday fit nicely into the Rockies’ plans.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, will take a break from a homestand after a Wednesday night loss to the New York Mets to fly to Denver in the wee hours of Thursday to play an afternoon game before flying back to Pittsburgh to start a weekend series on Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. It’s a brutal turnaround for the visitors from the National League Central.
However, after what the Pirates have done to the Rockies this year, very little sympathy is expected to be extended.
Pittsburgh has won five of the six meetings with Colorado this season, including all three in Denver before the late April postponement. Each series defeat has not only hurt the Rockies in the standings but also stalled Colorado’s momentum as well.
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When the Rockies first met Pittsburgh in April, Colorado was 9-9. Three losses later, the Rockies were 9-12 and wouldn’t see the .500 mark again until May 14 when they were 18-18.
The Rockies were 20-20 when they pulled into Pittsburgh on May 20 to open a three-game set at PNC Park. They left 21-22 and haven’t been back to .500 since.
Chad Bettis (4-5, 5.58 ERA) will take the mound for the Colorado Rockies against Pittsburgh’s Jeff Locke (5-3, 4.28 ERA).
For Bettis, it will be his 13th start of the season, including his fifth at home and second against the Pirates. He hasn’t fared well at Coors Field, going 1-2 with a 5.70 ERA with four walks and 19 strikeouts in his four 2016 starts at home.
He took the loss in his last start against the Pirates on April 25 at Coors Field, allowing four runs on six hits with two walks in 6.2 innings.
Bettis is in a slump and has pitched five innings or fewer in each of his last three starts after snapping a streak of eight starts in which he pitched six or more innings.
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For the Rockies to snap their recent skid against the Pirates, Bettis will need to have a quality start and Colorado will need to regain their swagger at home. So far this season, the Rockies are just 10-15 at 20th and Blake.