After missing the first month of the season due to a right shoulder strain, Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin is still searching for his first win in 2014. His first five starts haven't gone according to plan, as he's posted an 0-4 record with a 5.20 ERA. But he's hoping he'll be able to replicate the success he had in his only career start at Progressive Field on Sunday when Colorado takes on the Indians in their series finale.
Chacin tossed 6 2/3 innings against the Tribe on June 21, 2011, allowing one run on two hits in a 4-3 Rockies victory.
Colorado manager Walt Weiss said that despite Chacin's struggles this season, he sees last year's Opening Day starter rounding back into form.
"I feel like he's getting better every time out," Weiss said Saturday. "He's looking more and more like himself. I feel like that progression there is good. He's in a place where he can go out there and have a big-time performance."
Chacin is scheduled to be opposed by fellow right-hander Josh Tomlin, who is dealing with a rebound of his own. Tomlin had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and began this season at Triple-A. Tomlin suffered a tough-luck loss in his last outing on Monday, in which he allowed two earned runs over five innings, but gave up a three-run homer to Dayan Viciedo following a Lonnie Chisenhall error that extended the third inning against the White Sox.
"That's on me. I need to do a better job of picking Lonnie up there," Tomlin said. "It took a tough hop and I need to come back and make a better pitch to Viciedo right there. … He hit a hanging a curveball. I probably tried to do too much with it."
Tomlin has allowed a home run in each of his five starts this season, and he's struggled particularly against left-handed hitters, against whom he has a 3.95 ERA this season as opposed to a 2.08 ERA against righties.
The Rockies have a trio of dangerous left-handed hitters in Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Morneau. Morneau, in particular, has had success in his career against Tomlin, hitting .385 (5-for-13) with a double, two home runs and six RBIs.
Rockies: Weiss knows what it's like to hit away from Coors
Weiss understands the difference between hitting in the elevated environment of Coors Field and in ballparks on the road. That's because he used to play for Colorado and experienced it firsthand.
"I probably have perspective because I have had to deal with it," he said Saturday. "But again, it's a matter of going out and executing. So I don't know how much that helps. I still have perspective, but I don't know how much it helps."
Colorado has gone 2-6 with one game remaining on their season-long road trip, but Weiss said he's pleased with the commitment of his players to putting their best effort forth each day amid a tough stretch away from home.
"I have talked about that, the ability of this group to turn the page, and that's getting challenging right now because it's been a tough road trip," Weiss said. "They do show up well every day. It's a close group, it competes. In our meeting yesterday, our scouting meeting, we talked about some things, as far as how they show up and how they keep competing and how important that is. These guys embrace that. I feel good before every game we go out."
Indians: Giambi faces team he nearly managed
Veteran slugger Jason Giambi interviewed to manage the Rockies in 2013 before Colorado ultimately chose Weiss to take the helm. And while he's thrilled to be continuing his playing career with the Tribe at age 43, Giambi said Saturday he still has an interest in managing, and is learning a lot from Terry Francona.
"I've learned so much from him," said Giambi, who is playing in his 20th Major League season. "I've always had this vision, that I always felt like a manager could be friends with his players. A lot of times you're in that dynamic of, 'I'm the manager and you're the player.' There's usually not that crossover. You're over here and he's over there. Tito's in the middle, but he has good boundaries."
• After going 10-17 in April, the Indians finished May with a record of 15-13 for the month.
• With their loss to the Indians on Saturday, the Rockies lost for only the third time in their last eight games against Cleveland.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.