So far, so good.
The Rockies, who are still in the playoff hunt, completed a four-game sweep of the Reds on Thursday. The D-backs, who are 11-7 in their last 18 games against the NL West, have made their presence felt, going 3-3 against the Giants and 3-0 vs. the Padres since Aug. 27.
On Friday, the two clubs will square off for the first of three games at Coors Field that will impact the division race. Joe Saunders will take the hill for Arizona followed by Rodrigo Lopez on Saturday and Ian Kennedy on Sunday. The Rockies will counter with Jorge De La Rosa on Friday, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jhoulys Chacin.
It's already been quite a ride in Arizona. The D-backs have used 27 different pitchers this season, the most in franchise history, but the young staff has shown progress.
"They really understand now what the routine is," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "They're committed. Those guys want to push themselves, I believe, so they are ready if we are in San Francisco's shoes next year they're going to be able to stand up to it."
As for Saunders, he went 2-4 with a 5.08 ERA in August, but rebounded Saturday against the Astros and gave up only two runs in seven innings. As a member of the Angels, he beat the Rockies with a solid seven-inning start in June.
De La Rosa is also on a roll. He pitched six solid innings against the Padres on Sunday and is 3-2 with a 3.12 ERA in his last five starts. Moreover, hitters have a .234 batting average against him and he's racked up 54 strikeouts to 25 walks during that span.
"It was a very solid outing -- one pitch away from zeroes," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said after De La Rosa's last start.
D-backs: Heating up at the plate
Kelly Johnson is riding a five-game hitting streak and his hitting .350 during that stretch. ... Stephen Drew has hit safely in 12 of his last 15 games. ... Gerardo Parra has hit safely in eight of his last 12 game and is batting .375 in those contests. ... Mark Reynolds was back in the starting lineup Wednesday after missing a pair of games with a bone bruise below his right thumb. He went 0-for-4.
Rockies: CarGo keeps going
Carlos Gonzalez's hitting streak was snapped at 16 games in the series finale against the Reds on Thursday. Gonzalez remains in the hunt for the Triple Crown, and his manager on Thursday dismissed talk that Gonzalez's numbers deserve qualification because of his home park.
"He's as legitimate a Most Valuable Player candidate as any others you want to consider," Tracy said. "If I had a vote and I allowed the fact that he plays games at Coors Field to be involved in choosing a legitimate MVP candidate, that would be sad."
Gonzalez's home-road split is fairly pronounced. He's hitting .387 (98-for-253) at home, with 25 homers and 66 RBIs. Gonzalez has a .288 average on the road, with seven home runs and 34 RBIs. Still, Tracy said that Coors Field has changed from its early days.
"I used to sit over there on that side of the field and manage games in the pre-humidor era," Tracy said. "I'd sit for six innings and watch the game and wait until the seventh inning and see if we had a game to manage or not. Then I'd start doing it. But my experiences in some of the latter years, this park doesn't play anywhere near that anymore."
D-backs pitcher Brandon Webb came out of a bullpen session feeling encouraged Wednesday and said he hopes to pitch in a big league game this season. ... Colorado's Manuel Corpas underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Wednesday. ... The Rockies are 10-2 in their last 12 home games and 16-4 at home since July 29.
Fri, 9/10 9:10 PM ET
Elite eight: Rockies continue surge
Jorge De La Rosa's 10 strikeouts and Troy Tulowitzki's two home runs helped the Rockies blow out the D-backs for their eighth straight victory, a streak during which the shortstop has hit eight blasts.
|Drew, S, SS||3||0||1||0||0||1||1||.270|
|Johnson, K, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||1||0||.274|
|Young, Ch, CF||3||1||1||1||0||2||0||.266|
|LaRoche, Ad, 1B||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.266|
|Reynolds, Ma, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||3||1||.208|
|b-Abreu, T, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.245|
|c-Roberts, R, PH||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||.175|
|Parra, G, RF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.256|
|Saunders, J, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.125|
|Gonzalez, C, LF||4||1||0||0||0||2||2||.335|
|Morales, F, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Nelson, C, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.500|
|De La Rosa, P||2||0||1||1||0||0||0||.188|
2B: Parra, G (14, De La Rosa), Johnson, K (36, Daley), Church (15, Daley).
HR: Young, Ch (25, 2nd inning off De La Rosa, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Drew, S; Johnson, K 2; Young, Ch 4; LaRoche, Ad; Church 2; Abreu, T; Montero; Parra, G 2.
RBI: Young, Ch (84), Gillespie (7), Church (20), Roberts, R (7).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Ryal.
SF: Roberts, R.
Team RISP: 2-for-6.
Team LOB: 4.
E: Reynolds, Ma (18, throw), Parra, G (4, fielding).
DP: (Reynolds, Ma-Johnson, K-Allen).
Pickoffs: Saunders, J (Young at 1st base).
2B: Tulowitzki (29, Saunders, J), De La Rosa (2, Carrasco), Helton (16, Kroenke).
3B: Olivo (6, Carrasco).
HR: Tulowitzki 2 (20, 4th inning off Carrasco, 0 on, 1 out; 6th inning off Kroenke, 0 on, 1 out), Iannetta (9, 8th inning off Norberto, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Young 2; Fowler; Tulowitzki 10; Mora 2; Helton 3; Iannetta 4; Spilborghs 2; Olivo 3; De La Rosa 2.
RBI: Helton 2 (30), Tulowitzki 3 (72), Spilborghs 2 (31), Olivo 3 (55), De La Rosa (4), Young (7), Iannetta (25).
2-out RBI: Helton 2; Young; Iannetta.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Spilborghs; Fowler; Payton.
SAC: De La Rosa.
GIDP: Nelson, C.
Team RISP: 6-for-12.
Team LOB: 7.
SB: Young (16, 2nd base off Carrasco/Montero).
CS: Young (4, 2nd base by Saunders, J/Montero).
PO: Young (1st base by Saunders, J).
|Saunders, J(L, 8-15)||2.1||5||7||4||4||1||0||4.70|
Pitches-strikes: Saunders, J 70-37, Carrasco 29-19, Kroenke 27-17, Boyer 5-5, Norberto 32-19, De La Rosa 103-68, Morales, F 11-8, Escalona 8-6, Daley 28-19, Beimel 3-2.
Groundouts-flyouts: Saunders, J 5-0, Carrasco 1-1, Kroenke 2-1, Boyer 1-0, Norberto 2-1, De La Rosa 3-2, Morales, F 1-0, Escalona 0-2, Daley 0-1, Beimel 0-0.
Batters faced: Saunders, J 16, Carrasco 8, Kroenke 10, Boyer 2, Norberto 8, De La Rosa 23, Morales, F 3, Escalona 3, Daley 5, Beimel 1.
Inherited runners-scored: Carrasco 3-3, Boyer 2-0, Beimel 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Greg Gibson. 1B: Brian Knight. 2B: Gerry Davis. 3B: Sam Holbrook.
Weather: 72 degrees, cloudy.
Wind: 12 mph, R to L.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media