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KC@COL: Nicasio earns third win with brilliant outing

It can be that elusive thing many pitchers search for throughout a season -- consistency.

Friday at Coors Field, Brewers starter Chris Narveson will try to maintain such stability in the second half of the season, while Rockies starter Juan Nicasio will attempt to find it.

Falling apart in the third inning of his previous start last Thursday against the Braves, the Rockies right-hander gave up six straight hits to begin the inning after two solid frames.

Tossing a season-low 2 1/3 innings, Nicasio (3-2 4.91 ERA) gave up five runs on seven hits for the loss because of his inability to get his fastball in good locations and throw quality secondary pitches.

"What was so good in the first two innings, and what was so good with Juan in his previous start, was he was pounding the strike zone with his fastball," Rockies manager JimTracy said after the game. "Then he started spraying his fastball, and he was not able to get his secondary pitch in there in some hitter's counts."

While Nicasio dazzled with his fastball in a start July 1 against the Royals, throwing eight innings and giving up no runs for the win, three of his last four starts have been unimpressive. Combining to toss 13 innings in those games, the righty gave up a total of 15 runs on 18 hits.

He's also had trouble throwing deep into games, lasting five innings or fewer in four of his eight starts this season.

While Nicaso has continued to develop since being called up from Double-A Tulsa earlier this season, Tracy doesn't expect him to be a polished Major League pitcher by season's end. He just wants him to be mindful of the pitches he throws.

"That's unfair to ask of a young player that you're trying to develop," Tracy said. "When he is a really, really good strike-thrower with his fastball, down in the strike zone, and is consistently pounding the strike zone in that manner, he's really, really good. He has to be mindful, and that is the way he has to go about his business in the second half. Focus on that, so that where he's at with his secondary pitches, they can be utilized and be effective."

At the other end of the spectrum is Narveson, who has won four of his last five decisions and has lost only one game since June 5, a span of seven starts.

Last Thursday against the Reds, the left-hander went six innings, giving up just two runs on seven hits to improve to 6-5 with a 4.75 ERA.

Narveson will also be the Brewers starter in the second game of a season-long 11-game road trip. Only 16-30 on the road this season, the team knows that it has to improve its record away from Miller Park in order to compete for a World Series title.

"We really need to get off to a good roll here, especially on the road," Brewers closer John Axford said. "We've had our miseries on the road so far, I guess, so we need a fresh start with that."

Brewers: Rodriguez arrives ready to win
• Putting on a Brewers uniform for the first time Thursday, Francisco Rodriguez said he's excited to join the team.

"I just want to go out there and compete, work hard every day and help this ballclub," said Rodriguez, whom the Brewers acquired on Tuesday in a trade with the Mets.

Rodriguez will share the closer duties with Axford, who has converted 23-of-25 save chances this season.

"I don't want both [Axford] and [Rodriguez] not to know what's going on," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I've talked to them both to kind of let them know what I'm thinking, and talking to [general manager Doug Melvin] in what he was thinking when he got Rodriguez. So we're just kind of going to see how it goes."

• The Brewers have signed two additional selections from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft: right-handed pitchers Thomas Toledo (11th round) and Chad Thompson (27th round).

• Former Brewers broadcaster Steve Shannon passed away Tuesday in Springfield, Ill., at the age of 69. Shannon was a television broadcaster for Milwaukee from 1981-86.

Rockies: Gonzalez tests wrist
• While Carlos Gonzalez sat out Thursday's game against the Brewers, he took batting practice off a tee at Coors Field.

Gonzalez, who wore a removable cast in the Rockies clubhouse Wednesday during a voluntary workout and took a cortisone shot in the wrist Tuesday, said he may be able to play Friday, though a weekend return is more probable.

"We're not going to do anything too soon, because I don't want to end up possibly going on the DL," Gonzalez said. "We're going to see how it feels. If it feels good, I'm going to give it a shot and be in the lineup as soon as possible.

Worth noting
• Narveson will face the Rockies for the first time this season. In two career starts, he is yet to get a decision and has a lifetime ERA of 5.11.

• Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun was back in the lineup Thursday after missing eight games with a left calf strain and got a double in the first inning to bring his hit streak to 23 games. Comments