Well out of contention and beset by injuries, the Colorado Rockies have turned to their youngsters for some explosive offensive performances lately.
The anemic San Diego Padres could have difficulties keeping up with them.Colorado looks to sustain the momentum from an impressive series victory when it hosts the Padres on Friday night.The Rockies (56-84) took two of three from San Francisco, hitting four home runs in a 9-2 victory Wednesday -- including two from Corey Dickerson. Dickerson has 37 RBIs in his last 37 games at Coors Field and is 10 for 21 in his previous five there.Nolan Arenado, who hit his 15th homer Wednesday, has batted .441 with seven home runs in his last 16 home contests.With Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer all injured for the Rockies -- who are 22 games out of first place -- the 23-year-old Arenado and 25-year-old Dickerson have been two of their top four run producers."It's nice to know that we've got some young guys here than can make an impact," Arenado said. "Obviously, the experience level, we don't have it like Tulo and CarGo, but the chemistry is good with young guys. They want to play hard and they want to win."Justin Morneau has hit .417 over his last 14 meetings with San Diego.The Padres (66-73) took the first two in a four-game set with Arizona before scoring one run apiece in two straight losses. They managed just four hits in Thursday's 5-1 loss and are averaging 2.0 runs over the last eight games.San Diego had the bases loaded with no outs in the eighth inning Thursday but managed to score its lone run on a wild pitch. The Padres are 4 for 34 with runners in scoring position over the last five contests."You've got to score to win," manager Bud Black said. "You can't expect to win 2-1, 1-0 every night."Left-hander Eric Stults (6-15, 4.56 ERA) is all too familiar with his team's sub-par offense. He owns a 2.52 ERA over his last six starts but has dropped two straight. He gave up two runs over six innings in a 7-1 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday.It marked the 14th time in 27 starts that he's received one run or fewer of support."Unfortunately we came up a little short today," he told MLB's official website. "But, overall as a pitcher, you go out and battle and give your team a chance to win, that's a good day."He's 0-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three matchups with Colorado this season, receiving six runs of support over 16 2/3 innings.Arenado is 6 for 15 with two triples against him.Fellow southpaw Tyler Matzek (4-9, 4.75) takes the mound for the Rockies looking for a third straight victory. The rookie limited San Francisco and Arizona to a combined two runs over 14 innings on the road."He's been close to dominant the last couple of times out," manager Walt Weiss said. "It's good to see a kid developing as we speak. He's getting better and better."San Diego will hope to find some offensive traction against Matzek, who gave up five runs over six innings in both of his losses to the Padres earlier this season -- including a 5-3 road defeat Aug. 13.The Padres limited Colorado to seven runs while sweeping that three-game series.
Eric Stults has allowed a .314 batting average in at-bats to end with a pitch on the inner half of the plate, which is the fourth-highest rate among qualified starters. Justin Morneau has a .319 batting average in at-bats to end with a pitch on the inner half of the plate this season, which is 41 points higher than the league average among qualified hitters.
From Elias: The Padres were shut out on Friday, the 13th time they've scored 1 run or fewer in a game that Eric Stults started this season. That's the most such starts for any pitcher in baseball, and the 4th-most in a single season in Padres history.