The Colorado Rockies are on their best tear of the season at the plate. A matchup with Ian Snell seems to give them a good chance to continue their momentum.
After yet another impressive game from their lineup, the streaking Rockies look to take advantage of a contest with Snell and the Pittsburgh Pirates when the teams open a three-game series Monday night.Colorado (48-58) matched its season high with five straight wins on Sunday, beating Cincinnati 11-0 in the finale of the teams' three-game set. The Rockies have won nine of 10 thanks partly to an offensive outburst.Over its last eight games, Colorado has a .394 team batting average with 10 home runs and 34 doubles. The Rockies have scored in double digits four times in their last seven contests and have compiled at least 11 hits in eight straight games, their longest streak since an eight-game run in September 1999.Last year, Colorado won 21 of 22 games to get to the World Series."We're not trying to recreate anything," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're just trying to play well day to day. Last year, we figured out a way to score one more run than our opponents. Right now, we're finding ways to barrel up some balls. Our offense has been good from the bottom all the way to the top."This has been the most successful stretch at the plate this season for Colorado, which has been inconsistent at times. The Rockies were held to a total of two runs during a four-game losing streak from July 10-13.Against the Pirates (48-57) from July 17-20, though, the Rockies didn't have much trouble. Colorado swept that four-game series, totaling 18 runs and 28 hits in the final two matchups.Now the Rockies face the struggling Snell (3-8, 6.10 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 7.71 EREA in his last three starts and has given up seven home runs in his last six outings.Snell faced Colorado on July 18, giving up four runs -- three earned -- and six hits in six innings as Pittsburgh lost 5-2. He is 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance all-time against the Rockies.In his last outing, the right-hander allowed five runs and six hits in three innings in the Pirates' 8-7 loss to Houston on Wednesday.Snell, though, has been respectable at home, going 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in nine starts.Colorado counters with Jason Hirsh, making his first major league start of the season after suffering a strained rotator cuff in spring training. He will be called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 2-3 with a 5.24 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance.Hirsh was 5-7 with a 4.81 ERA in 19 starts for the Rockies last season. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts versus the Pirates.He'll face a Pittsburgh team which averaged 2.3 runs in its last series with Colorado. The Pirates also struggled Sunday, going 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position in a 3-1 loss to San Diego.Pittsburgh lost the final three games of that four-game set, and could be without starting second baseman Freddy Sanchez as it continues a seven-game homestand.Sanchez left Sunday's game after his at-bat in the first inning with back spasms, and was replaced by Luis Rivas. Sanchez is listed as day-to-day."It's been bothering me for the past three or four days," Sanchez told the Pirates' official Web site. "Hopefully I can get back out there as soon as possible."