After defeating Colorado on Friday night to open the second half, the Pirates will look to maintain their momentum Saturday with Charlie Morton on the mound.
Despite a pedestrian 5-9 first-half record, Morton has been solid in 2014, with a 3.32 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 119 1/3 innings. In his last start, Morton imploded after facing just one more than the minimum in five innings against the Reds. He gave up five runs, all in the sixth.
"Pitches got flat, elevated," he said afterward. "From the get-go, I couldn't locate that inning."
Morton was one of several current Bucs on board for last season's playoff push, a factor that manager Clint Hurdle hopes will help the team in the second half.
"I think [the experience] has paid off already. There were a number of different times in the first half that we had to deal and dance with adversity. We're not overwhelmed by it," Hurdle said. "We know what we need to do. We need to trust the next man up, we need to do what we do best, individually for the greater good of the group. But there's not panic. They all have the mindset, 'We got this,' as long as they stay in the proper lane."
Morton will face off against Rockies lefty Brett Anderson, who will be making his second start after a stint on the disabled list with a fractured left index finger.
In his first start back on July 13 against Minnesota, Anderson allowed six runs over five innings, five of which came in the first inning. He said he hopes that pitching on the road may help him get back in his groove.
"Pitching in Coors Field is different, even from pitching in Colorado Springs," Anderson said after the start. "You're facing big league hitters, trying to execute, making adjustments on the fly. My stuff was terrible, but I did a pretty good job of doing that after the first inning. I'll put the first one behind me and go on to the next. I'll make my adjustments here and get better."
With the Rockies scuffling late in the second half, Anderson is looking to become a fixture in a rotation that has had little consistency.
"No one puts more pressure on himself than I do," Anderson said. "I want to be another guy in the rotation that can give us a chance to win every time out."
Rockies: Chatwood to have second Tommy John surgery
On two occasions, rehab went well for Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood right up until a hitter stepped into the batter's box against him. But when the intensity increased, the command went away. It left him and the club little choice but to schedule season-ending Tommy John surgery next week.
According to Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger, pain isn't the issue as much as the lack of command, which led to the conclusion that Chatwood's ulnar collateral ligament is compromised. This is his second UCL; the first was replaced when he was a 16-year-old.
Chatwood, 24, was placed on the disabled list on April 30 with a right flexor tendon strain. But that was simply the latest injury in the elbow area. Last year he had troublesome inflammation, and after the season he had bone chips removed. This year, after the flexor tendon strain, the Rockies three times did plasma-rich protein injections. None of that made the elbow strong enough to withstand intense pitching.
"When you start seeing these multiple diagnoses of different injuries in the elbow, you always think of the ligament," Dugger said. "He didn't, per se, tear this ligament, but it's deficient.
"He never had a problem at all with his throwing program, never had a problem throwing bullpens. It was every time he got to hitters, he had no command, no strength and that's where we are today."
Rockies orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas J. Noonan, noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, Rockies rehab coordinator Scott Murayama, Dugger and Chatwood all decided upon the surgery. He is expected to be out of action for more than a calendar year.
Pirates: Cole awaits evaluation after bullpen session
Gerrit Cole threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, and the Pirates are going to evaluate the right-hander before deciding on a rehab plan of action.
Cole left a July 4 start against the Phillies with tightness in his right lat and is on the disabled list for the second time this season. Manager Clint Hurdle has already said Cole will make a rehab start before rejoining the Major League rotation -- something he didn't do after developing right shoulder fatigue in June -- but doesn't yet have an exact timeframe of when that will happen.
"[Pitching coach Ray Searage] said it went very well," Hurdle said of Cole's bullpen session. "It was fastball, changeup. It was 30 pitches. So after he settles down [Friday], we'll revisit and plan the next step."
In his second season with the Pirates, Cole is 7-4 with a 3.78 ERA, 1.307 WHIP and 78 strikeouts in 14 starts (85 2/3 innings).
• The Rockies are 3-11 this season against the National League Central.
• Saturday will be the Pirates' second game in a stretch of four against left-handed pitchers. The Bucs have not faced four straight southpaws since 2010.
• This will be the second of six games between these two games in a 10-game stretch.
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.