The San Diego Padres are riding high after taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds, and look to keep their hot streak going as they move into Denver to face off against the Colorado Rockies. The Friars are coming off of a three home run outburst on Thursday evening as they toppled the Reds 6-1, and look to test their new found confidence against the Rockies for a three game set.
The Rockies have looked like an offensive powerhouse through the first month and a half of the season, but a cooling trend has plagued the high-powered offense in the last week. They have dropped five of their last six games, scoring just seven runs and putting together 15 hits during the stretch. They look to correct their mid-May hiccup and again find their bats as they go into the three game set against the Padres. On the season, they still rank first in runs (233), batting average (.296), on-base percentage (.344) and slugging (493), and are hoping that a return home to Coors, where they are 13-5 on the season will cure their current hitting struggles.
The Friars pitching continues to be one of the stiffest tests in MLB, and as they move into Colorado, it will be important once again for the Padres to offer run support. Coors Field is well known for being a hitters ballpark, as high fly balls cut through the air like a knife in the thin Rocky Mountain sky. High hit balls tend to leave the ballpark, so Padres pitching is going to have to keep the ball down and force ground balls against one of the best hitting teams in the big leagues.
To shut down the Colorado Rockies means shutting down Troy Tulowitzki and his season-long hot bat. Tulowitzki is hitting a MLB best, .391, is first in the NL in home runs (11), and is second in the NL in RBI (33), and if the Friars look to stay hot and come out on top against the Rockies, they may not be able to slow down Tulowitzki, but the key is not to let him beat them.
On the pitching end, the Friars will face off with two of the Rockies best pitchers in their Friday and Saturday games. Friday will see Jorge De La Rosa take the mound, looking to improve upon his four-game winning streak, and team-leading 36 strikeouts on the year. The second game, the Rockies will throw their early season ace, Jordan Lyles at the surging Padres.
Hitting has been the story of the season so far for the San Diego Padres, and they have proven that when they can score, they can win. Their pitching staff has been stellar, and if they can do their job and limit base runners, big innings and the long ball against one of the best hitting teams in baseball, the offense will have to do their part as well. Eric Stults (2-3) will take his 5.03 ERA to the mound against the Rockies in Game 1 of the series.
Commentary by Johnny Caito