After appearing to have broken out of their distinction as an inferior team away from home thanks to five straight road victories -- including a three-game sweep at first-place San Diego -- the Rockies have now lost two straight away games.
The first, Sunday against the Dodgers, looked safe until Colorado blew a five-run lead and lost in 11 innings. Then, Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the cellar-dwelling D-backs brought to mind many of the issues the Rockies had as they fell to a dismal 24-40 on the road as recently as Sept. 2.
Before the Rockies scratched across a run in the eighth, the club had gone scoreless for 16 straight innings. The lull couldn't come at a worse time, as Colorado has suddenly slipped back to 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants in the National League West.
"We have to keep moving forward," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "There are two weeks of baseball to go. We need to keep our focus where it needs to be. Take care of tomorrow first."
For much of the season, it was customary to see the Rockies struggle to get men on base, advance runners and scratch across a few runs when they weren't putting up gaudy numbers at Coors Field. A one-run, six-hit performance against the lowly D-backs on Tuesday was déjà vu all over again.
"These guys are a very aggressive team and they can obviously hit pretty good," said D-backs starter Joe Saunders, who stymied the Rockies on Tuesday.
Fortunately for Colorado, ace Ubaldo Jimenez will be back on the hill Wednesday, searching for his 20th win of the season. The right-hander has not been perfect in his last few starts, but has continued to build upon one of the best seasons in franchise history. Jimenez is 5-3 with a 2.32 ERA, racking up 87 strikeouts in 85 1/3 career innings against the D-backs.
"He knows that we need him," outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said.
At the plate, Colorado will look at the two horses that carried them for much of their remarkable September run -- Gonzalez and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. The two were a combined 2-for-7 with three strikeouts and three runners stranded in Tuesday's defeat.
Rockies: Number of players nursing injuries
Starter Jason Hammel said he's been experiencing some "extreme dead-arm" but felt encouraged by tests on Tuesday. He was expected to play catch Tuesday and throw a bullpen session in the next few days before his scheduled start Saturday. If he's unavailable, Esmil Rogers could start in his place. ... X-rays on the sore right shin of second baseman Eric Young Jr. came up negative. Still, he may only be able to pinch-hit in the series against the D-backs. ... Tracy said catcher Chris Iannetta (calf strain) is available, but will be eased back into game situations. ... Third baseman Ian Stewart took batting practice in Tucson, Ariz., and will likely return for the weekend's home series against the Giants.
D-backs: Not a record to be proud of
With six strikeouts Tuesday and 1,403 strikeouts through 151 games, the D-backs have set a record for team strikeouts in a season, eclipsing the 2001 Brewers (1,399). ... The remainder of the D-backs' schedule comes against NL West foes, with two more games against the Rockies, three against the Giants and six against the Dodgers. Arizona is 12-10 against division rivals since going 10-29 in the first 39 division games.
Tuesday's Arizona win snapped a four-game losing streak against the Rockies. ... The Rockies are 39-70 all-time at Chase Field. ... Since experiencing some soreness in his right wrist on Aug. 30, Gonzalez has hit just three homers to slow his Triple Crown pursuit. But the outfielder has continued to hit for average during that time, leading the league with a .339 mark.
Wed, 9/22 9:40 PM ET
D-backs rock Ubaldo
After falling in an early hole, the D-backs battled back to put up five runs in four innings on Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez thanks to a two-run homer off the bat of Adam LaRoche and a two-run single by Chris Young.
|Gonzalez, C, RF||3||1||2||0||1||0||0||.341|
|Reynolds, Mt, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Morales, F, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Smith, S, LF||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.251|
|Drew, S, SS||3||2||1||1||2||1||3||.277|
|Young, Ch, CF||3||1||1||2||2||2||1||.260|
|Johnson, K, 2B||5||1||1||2||0||2||4||.274|
|LaRoche, Ad, 1B||4||1||2||2||1||2||2||.261|
|Reynolds, Ma, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||.202|
|c-Roberts, R, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.208|
|Parra, G, RF||4||1||3||0||0||0||2||.261|
2B: Gonzalez, C (34, Lopez), Payton (3, Lopez).
HR: Mora (6, 1st inning off Lopez, 2 on, 2 out), Helton (7, 1st inning off Lopez, 0 on, 2 out).
TB: Herrera; Gonzalez, C 3; Mora 4; Helton 5; Payton 2.
RBI: Mora 3 (41), Helton (34).
2-out RBI: Mora 3; Helton.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Fowler; Spilborghs; Mora.
Team RISP: 1-for-6.
Team LOB: 5.
SB: Gonzalez, C (24, 2nd base off Demel/Montero).
PB: Olivo (10).
2B: LaRoche, Ad (33, Beimel), Parra, G (19, Belisle).
HR: Drew, S (13, 1st inning off Jimenez, 0 on, 0 out), LaRoche, Ad (24, 3rd inning off Jimenez, 1 on, 1 out), Johnson, K (24, 8th inning off Belisle, 1 on, 2 out).
TB: Drew, S 4; Young, Ch; Johnson, K 4; LaRoche, Ad 6; Parra, G 4; Church.
RBI: Drew, S (55), LaRoche, Ad 2 (95), Young, Ch 2 (87), Church (25), Johnson, K 2 (67).
2-out RBI: Young, Ch 2; Johnson, K 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Drew, S; Parra, G; LaRoche, Ad.
Team RISP: 4-for-13.
Team LOB: 8.
SB: Drew, S (8, 2nd base off Jimenez/Olivo).
DP: (Reynolds, Ma-Johnson, K-LaRoche, Ad).
HBP: Lopez (by Jimenez).
Pitches-strikes: Jimenez 92-49, Beimel 19-12, Dotel 16-7, Reynolds, Mt 10-7, Belisle 36-27, Morales, F 3-3, Lopez 83-55, Carrasco 23-9, Boyer 9-8, Hampton 4-4, Demel 27-16.
Groundouts-flyouts: Jimenez 1-3, Beimel 2-0, Dotel 0-0, Reynolds, Mt 0-0, Belisle 2-0, Morales, F 0-0, Lopez 7-4, Carrasco 1-0, Boyer 2-0, Hampton 0-0, Demel 0-0.
Batters faced: Jimenez 21, Beimel 5, Dotel 3, Reynolds, Mt 2, Belisle 8, Morales, F 1, Lopez 20, Carrasco 5, Boyer 3, Hampton 2, Demel 6.
Inherited runners-scored: Reynolds, Mt 2-0, Demel 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Dana DeMuth. 1B: CB Bucknor. 2B: Kerwin Danley. 3B: Doug Eddings.
Weather: 95 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 12 mph, In from RF.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media