Once a baseball season starts rolling, it can seem like weeks when a team has a game washed out before a scheduled day off.
The Rockies had that happen to them in Chicago as they looked to sweep the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The game will be made up on June 27th, sandwiched between an American League road trip to Cleveland and New York, and an interleague series at Coors Field with the Chicago White Sox.
Having rain wipe away the scheduled game on Wednesday, the Rockies now have two straight days off before playing the Pirates, and former manager Clint Hurdle, at Coors Field on Saturday. The Rockies won't be able to get comfortable at home, however, hitting the road immediately following the three-game set for a trip to Arizona and San Francisco.
The Rockies go into the series against the Pirates with a 16-7 record, tied for the best in Major League Baseball. With two games remaining in the month, the Rockies have already recorded the most wins in April in franchise history.
The club has already accomplished that feat with two games remaining in the month, and two more games that were originally scheduled for April rained out and are rescheduled for later in the season.
If the Rockies split the first two against Pittsburgh, they will finish the month 17-8. It would be tough to find a fan of the Rockies who expected anywhere near that good of a mark. Most thought that they would be improved in April, but to that degree was very much unexpected.
Much of the success has come against teams that are inferior not only to the Rockies, but also to the rest of the league. Four of the wins came against the Mets, three against the Pirates and four against the Cubs. There is no doubt that those teams probably will not be buyers at the trade deadline at the end of July. However, in years past, those are teams that the Rockies found themselves on the losing side of games all too often.
The mark of a good team is winning games that should be won, and the Rockies have done just that.
Of the three losses on the season, one came from a guy with two Cy Young awards, two came from pitchers who have recorded no-hitters in the past and another came from a guy whose ERA is just above 1.00 and hasn't allowed a hit before the fourth inning all season long. Those are games that no team in baseball would escape with a winning record against.
On Friday, the Rockies will have Jhoulys Chacin, originally scheduled for Wednesday's matinée in Chicago, on the mound against Pirates starter Kevin Correia. Correia is familiar with the Rockies, pitching often against them over the past two seasons with the Padres. So far, Correia is pitching well for the Bucs, going 3-2 with a 3.48 ERA. Chacin looks to bounce back from his tough outing in Florida. He couldn't locate his pitches and struggled in his first loss of the season.
On Saturday the Rockies send Jason Hammel to the mound to face Pirates lefty Paul Maholm. There is no way that Maholm is looking forward to his start at Coors Field after posting a 1-7 record in his career against the Rockies with a 6.84 ERA. Hammel is coming off of his best performance of the season, seemingly finding his stuff against the Marlins.
Sunday will be a big measuring stick for the Rockies, as they send Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound to face Charlie Morton. Jimenez looked far better in his last time out on Sunday against the Marlins, but ran out of gas after the fifth inning. It will be very telling to see if Jimenez can be anywhere near the dominant pitcher that he was in 2010. Morton did a good job of limiting the Giants to just one run and four hits against him in six innings his last time out, but he failed to pick up the win as the bullpen couldn't do its job.
The reality for the Rockies is they need to find a way to take two-of-three in this series. They are by far the better team, and in every game they should have the pitching advantage. This could be a good time for the Rockies' struggling bats to get hot again.
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