The Rockies hope to continue their longstanding dominance of the Brewers at Coors Field when the two teams start up a three-game set this evening in the Mile High City.
Colorado enters tonight's clash with a 59-55 record and presently trails fellow NL West member San Francisco by six games for the lead in the league's Wild Card race. The Rockies lost a bit of ground to the Giants after dropping two of three contests to the New York Mets in their last series, including a 4-0 setback in Thursday's rubber match.
The Rockies' offense was stymied by the Mets' Johan Santana in the finale, mustering a mere four hits -- all singles -- and striking out 10 times against the two-time Cy Young Award winner in his complete-game effort.
Starting pitcher Jason Hammel lasted seven innings for Colorado, but was touched for all four runs and eight hits in taking the loss.
Despite sitting on the outside of the postseason picture, the Rockies should take comfort in their outstanding 36-19 record at Coors Field this season, and the fact that nine of their next 15 games will take place at home.
"I think you have to focus on the bright side of things," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said after Thursday's defeat. "That is, we still have plenty of baseball left to play, we got a a lot of games in our division."
A visit from the Brewers may also help Colorado climb back into the chase. Milwaukee has lost 12 of 15 games played at Coors Field since the start of the 2006 campaign and is just 8-17 overall against the Rockies over that time period, although the teams have split six previous meetings this season.
On the other hand, the Rockies were shut out twice in the Mets series and will face another tough customer again tonight in Milwaukee ace Yovani Gallardo, a winner in five of his last seven trips to the mound. The All-Star hurler has been terrific on the road as well, bringing a 6-1 record with an excellent 2.01 earned run average over 11 away starts into tonight's tilt.
Gallardo wasn't at his best last time out, but still managed to register his 11th victory of 2010 in Sunday's 11-6 verdict over Houston. The hard-throwing righty did allow four runs over six innings that day, but struck out seven Astros while walking just one.
The 24-year-old was brilliant in his previous start, yielding a run and just two hits while racking up 12 strikeouts in six innings to best the Chicago Cubs on August 2.
Gallardo has yet to defeat the Rockies in five prior appearances, four of which were starts, but did hold them to a run and four hits in a six-inning no-decision at Coors Field on June 19. He's still just 0-3 with a 6.04 ERA lifetime in this series, however.
Tracy will hand the ball tonight to Jorge De La Rosa, who's still trying to get back to form after returning from an extended stint on the disabled list in early July. In six starts since being activated, the left-hander is 1-2 with a mediocre 5.79 ERA and has served up six homers in 32 2/3 innings.
De La Rosa, a 16-game winner for Colorado last season, last pitched on Saturday in Pittsburgh and allowed three runs while walking four batters in a 5 1/3-inning no-decision. He's been better at home than on the road this year, however, having compiled a 3-2 record and a 4.00 ERA in six Coors Field starts.
The one-time Brewer is just 1-2 with a brutal 9.19 ERA over four games (three starts) against his former club, but did win his only meeting with Milwaukee last season.
Milwaukee hits the road for five straight dates beginning tonight and comes into the trip on a high note, salvaging the finale of a four-game home set with Arizona with Thursday's 8-4 win.
Casey McGehee led the charge in yesterday's triumph by going 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBI, while Craig Counsell also knocked in three runs to help the Brewers avenge three straight losses to the last-place Diamondbacks.
Milwaukee built a commanding 6-0 lead after two innings, enough for starter Randy Wolf to even his season record at 9-9. The veteran lefty worked the first six innings and allowed four runs while striking out eight. John Axford held Arizona scoreless over the final 1 2/3 frames to register his 17th save.