Madison Bumgarner hasn't quite been himself this season, and his next assignment is unlikely to make things any easier.
The San Francisco Giants left-hander will take the mound Tuesday night at Coors Field, where the Colorado Rockies have repeatedly banged up visiting pitchers so far this season.The Rockies (11-10) didn't waste any time continuing their scorching offensive start to the season with a four-run first inning in Monday's 8-2 win over the Giants (11-9). The 11-hit night featured five Rockies home runs and bumped their team OPS at home to 1.004 despite a combined 1-for-10 night from Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Morneau."Can't count on (them) to do all the damage," manager Walt Weiss said.Leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon, batting .411, went deep twice and has three homers in his last two games."When we're clicking as a team, and everybody is hitting the ball hard, up and down the order, it's just that feeling of, 'We're going to get 'em,'" Blackmon said.Bumgarner (2-1, 3.48 ERA) has been hit harder than he's used to so far this season, yielding a .326 average after holding opponents to .203 in 2013. He allowed two runs on six hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings of Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers."For some reason the outside corner was hard for (Bumgarner) to get," manager Bruce Bochy told the team's official website.His start before that came against the Rockies on April 11 in San Francisco, where he allowed four runs on nine hits in six innings but earned the victory. He has a 2.06 ERA in seven career home starts against Colorado but a 4.27 ERA in nine outings at Coors.Gonzalez is 12 for 33 with five home runs against Bumgarner.The Rockies will counter with Franklin Morales, who is looking for a second straight win.The left-hander struggled through his first two starts, made one relief appearance against the Giants, and returned to the rotation to earn his first win on Thursday. Morales (1-1, 4.82 ERA) allowed a run on four hits in six innings of a 3-1 victory in San Diego."I don't think about that," Morales said of his changing role. "I'm thinking only to do my job and help the team to win."Morales hasn't started against the Giants since 2008. He's 0-3 with a 6.57 ERA in 17 career games versus San Francisco, but the Giants haven't been running anyone off the mound lately.San Francisco has 11 runs and a .168 average in its last six games, hardly enough to keep pace with Colorado. They did see signs of life Monday from right fielder Hunter Pence, who went 2 for 4 after going 0 for 9 over the weekend in San Diego.Catcher Buster Posey, though, went 0 for 3 and is 2 for 29 in his last nine games.Colorado right fielder Michael Cuddyer was placed on the disabled list before Monday's game with a strained left hamstring. His replacement in the lineup, Corey Dickerson, went 3 for 4 with a home run.San Francisco could be without long reliever David Huff, who strained his left quadriceps while running out an infield single. Bochy said a DL stint is "more than likely."The Giants are 3-8 at Coors Field since the start of 2013.
Hunter Pence has a .634 slugging percentage in at-bats to end in a pitch in the upper third of the zone or above since the start of last season, fourth highest among qualified hitters. Franklin Morales has thrown 36 percent of his pitches in that zone this season, well above the league average of 27 percent.