Colorado Rockies 

Colorado Rockies (25-20) At Los Angeles Dodgers (25-20)

Brad Penny will try to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers rolling tonight when they resume a three-game NL West series against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium.

Penny will make his 10th start of the season and has won his last two starts, including a May 17 outing versus the Rockies. Penny limited the Rockies to a run and six hits over six innings.

The hard-throwing right-hander has faced the Rockies 11 times through the course of his career, and owns a 6-2 mark against them with a 2.69 earned run average in 70 1/3 innings.

He is 4-1 with a 2.53 earned run average this season.

In Monday's series opener Jae Seo threw seven solid innings, as Los Angeles won its fifth straight contest by a 6-1 score. Seo gave up six hits and one unearned run, while J.D. Drew knocked in two runs in the victory -- LA's 13th in its last 16 games.

The Dodgers are now tied with Colorado for second place in the NL West, just a half game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks. LA, which is 4-0 on the six-game homestand, has a 14-10 record as the host this season.

Colorado had its three-game winning streak halted in last night's loss. Starting pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim surrendered six hits and three runs -- one earned -- in six frames for the loss.

Matt Holliday drove in the only run for the Rockies, who opened their nine- game road swing on a losing note and fell to 12-10 on the road in 2006. Second baseman Jamey Carroll sprained his right ankle in the first inning after reaching safely on an error and was pinch-hit for in the third. He is questionable for Tuesday's contest.

Right-hander Jason Jennings will try to put the brakes on a personal two-game losing streak this evening in the middle contest for Colorado.

Jennings is only 1-4 in his past five outings and was handed the loss in his last appearance on May 17 against Los Angeles. He allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks with four K's over 6 2/3 innings versus the Dodgers.

The Baylor product has pitched 14 times against Los Angeles and owns a 5-5 record with two complete games and a 3.35 ERA in 94 innings.

Los Angeles took two of three games at Colorado from May 15-17 this season. Colorado won the 2005 series 11-8 after LA won the '04 series by the same margin. The Dodgers also went 12-7 against the Rockies in 2003.

Jennings Aims

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jason Jennings is trying to avoid another slow start by getting ahead of batters this spring with his change-up.

The Rockies pitchers and catchers worked out for the first time on Saturday, but it was far from the first physical activity Jennings has done during the offseason.

Colorado's potential opening day pitcher has undergone a different conditioning program to strengthen his lower back and abdominals, and has concentrated on throwing his change-up more to get off to a promising start.

Jennings has typically been slow to get going, such as he did a year ago when he was 1-6 with a 7.05 ERA through his first nine starts.

"He is well aware he has come out of the gate slow and then gotten on a roll by the end of May," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "He is not happy with it, and we think there is better there. We know there is better there. It is up to him."

Jennings finished the season 6-9 with a 5.02 ERA before breaking a bone in his finger that put him out of the lineup the last part of the year. A new conditioning program has brought him to Rockies camp in the best shape of his life.

But there is more to getting out fresh than just looking the part. The 2002 National League Rookie of the Year is going back to what worked in the middle of the 2005 season -- an off-speed pitch -- as a way to jump-start his career. In Jennings' final 11 starts he was 5-3 with a 3.49 ERA.

"I was really throwing my fast ball on both sides of the plate and throwing my change-up a lot," Jennings said. "Throwing my change-up is something I did in my rookie year a lot and is something I kind of got away from the next couple of years. That is the big pitch for me, especially in Denver.

"It is a pitch I have to throw. It is a feel pitch. It takes awhile to get a feel for it, but I am going to try to throw it a lot in spring training and hopefully it will be a good pitch for me come April."

The Rockies had everybody working out on day one with the exception of Jose Mesa, who is having traveling problems reporting from Miami, and Nate Fields, who recently had a baby boy and was expected to be in camp by Monday.

About Helton...

TUCSON, Colo. -- Todd Helton reported with the rest of his teammates on Wednesday as the cagey veteran with a bunch of Rockies youngsters following his every move.

All eyes are on the Colorado stalwart, who is not only the team's consummate hitter, but a mentor for an inexperienced team still trying to find itself.

"Time will tell but we definitely have the talent, but that doesn't mean nothing," Helton said. "We have to go out and win ball games. There are a lot of good players. The more experience everybody gets the better we are going to be."

After six days of just having pitchers and catchers in spring training, everybody else showed up Wednesday.

The Rockies will be without two pitchers on Thursday when Byung-Hyun Kim and Sunny Kim leave to start workouts with their Korean team as part of the World Baseball Classic.

Informal workouts in the batting cages greeted the positional players, who carried more of an accomplished attitude than at the start of last year's training camp.

"They do walk around a little lighter," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "They have experience under their belt and a degree of confidence. But they have to build on the success. You can talk about a lot of things, but the bottom line is we won 67 games, and that is not very many."

The key appears to be for players to follow Helton's lead, and make sure Colorado doesn't bury itself again with another 15-36 start like it did last season.

Helton will be one of the few true veterans in the every day lineup to work with second-year players such as outfielders Cory Sullivan and Brad Hawpe, shortstop Clint Barmes, third baseman Garrett Atkins, and third year players like outfielder Matt Holliday and second baseman Luis Gonzalez.

"(Helton) has set the bar very high," Hurdle said. "If he goes out and does what he is capable of doing it will be an outstanding season both offensively and defensively."

Helton, who is the active career batting average leader in the major leagues with a .337 clip and with eight straight seasons of 20-plus homers, entered his 11th spring training as the cornerstone for what the Rockies do during the 2006 season.

"He is the leader on the team and a consummate professional," Sullivan said. "All the young guys watch him. He is a great guy to mirror."

Bad Day.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The battle for the fifth starter spot looked like a war of attrition Wednesday, as both Zach Day and Josh Fogg missed opportunities to make a strong impression.

Day pitched the home end of a split-squad series with the Diamondbacks, giving up seven runs on eight hits and a walk in three innings.

"I feel good," Day said after coming out of the game with a spring ERA of 13.50. "I was getting balls up. I just have to lower my sights. My stuff feels pretty good right now."

He may have felt good, but his command looked "poor" to manager Clint Hurdle, who cited problems taking speed off Day's changeup, an inability to get ahead in the count and an inconsistency in getting the ball down as areas of concern.

"He needs to look at this and do some fine-tuning on the side, and he needs to have a good outing his next time out where he's getting the ball down and his command improves," Hurdle said.

Fogg fared better in the D-Backs' park, giving up three runs in four innings on four hits and a walk to lower his ERA to 7.71. The other primary candidate for the fifth spot, Sunny Kim, is with the Korean national team in the World Baseball Classic, where he gave up two runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings in the upset victory over Japan on Sunday, giving him a tournament ERA of 5.40.

"I can only do what I can do," said Day, deflecting any sense of pressure about competing for a job. "I'm a sinkerball pitcher. Today I got beat on a couple balls up -- they weren't sinking. There were a couple offspeed that got away. A couple sliders that got away. The sinker feels good. The four-seamer I got up a little bit. I have to adjust accordingly.

"I know myself and I know where I got to be. For me to compete for a spot right now, I look to sharpen things up and then get after it the next couple starts."

Air mail: Control was not an issue for third base prospect Troy Tulowitzki. In the top of the eighth, Jerry Gil doubled deep to left field, and Tulowitzki went well out onto the outfield grass to take the relay throw from Minor Leaguer Joe Gaetti as Alberto Callaspo headed down the line for home.

"Honestly, when he hit that ball, I thought there's no chance we got a play at the plate right here," said catcher JD Closser. "I thought the play would be [on Gil] at third base. When Troy caught [Gaetti's throw] out there and threw it, I still wasn't sure we had a play at the plate. The throw went over [shortstop Ian Stewart's] head, and I thought, 'Oh my, we have a shot at this guy.'

"Joe hit him from the outfield on a perfect throw, and then a perfect throw to the plate. ... He hit me right in the chest."

Closser blocked the plate, Callaspo was out and 1,559 fans were stunned, not to mention both dugouts.

"You got to see probably one of the best relay throws you'll ever see," Hurdle said. "I don't care where you've been or who you've watched."

Commencing countdown: The Rockies blasted four home runs Wednesday, all in the home game. Closser, Stewart and Choo Freeman each launched their first round-trippers of the season, and Jeff Baker hit his team-best second dinger, giving him a team high six RBIs.

Baker's promise has prompted Hurdle to get the explosive prospect into every game of the spring, not including the second split-squad matchup Wednesday, and the natural third baseman has found himself in the outfield each time out.

"We're trying to find a way to get him a little more playing time," Hurdle said. "Garrett Atkins established himself at third, and Bake's got a little versatility. We'll see if we can convert that into him becoming an outfielder.

"He drove a ball out of the ballpark today, but some of the growing pains you get with young players were very evident today. In two other opportunities, he struck out with a runner at third with less than two outs."

Worldly Rockies: Rockies closer Brian Fuentes pitched a scoreless ninth inning in Team USA's loss to Canada on Wednesday, striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning.

Matt Holliday started in left field, going 0-for-3 at the plate.

Jeff Francis starts for Canada in Thursday's first-round finale against Mexico.

Manuel Corpas pitched an inning of relief in Panama's loss to Cuba, inducing an inning-ending double play in the sixth, before yielding two runs in the seventh on two hits and a walk. That allowed Cuba to tie the game, which it ultimately won, 8-6, in 11 innings. Corpas is on the Rockies' 40-man roster.

Colorado reliever David Cortes pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for Mexico on Tuesday night, shutting down Team USA's Jeff Francoeur, Michael Young and Michael Barrett to preserve the two-run deficit.

  1 - 4 of 4 articles  

On This Site

  • About this site
  • Main Page
  • Most Recent Comments
  • Complete Article List
  • Sponsors

Search This Site

Syndicate this blog site

Powered by BlogEasy

Free Blog Hosting