The Colorado Rockies have picked up where they left off last season at Coors Field, where they batted an NL-high .293 with a major league-best 434 runs in 2013.
The Rockies also are hitting left-handers hard so far, though they figure to face a more difficult challenge against Jose Quintana.Colorado looks to continue its early offensive surge with a fourth win in five home games Tuesday night while Quintana tries to keep the Chicago White Sox from their fifth loss in six games.Since totaling 15 runs in dropping three of four in Miami to open 2014, the Rockies (4-4) have found their stroke during their first homestand of the season.They've put up 32 runs while batting .362 with seven homers on the way to three victories over the first four games at Coors Field, including just their fourth win in 20 interleague home games Monday.Troy Tulowitzki went 3 for 3 with his first home run, while Carlos Gonzalez slugged his third homer in Monday's 8-1 victory over Chicago (3-4). Starting pitcher Jordan Lyles even chipped in with three hits and two RBIs."Somehow the ball found the bat and the bat hit the ball and guys weren't there," said Lyles, who became the first Colorado pitcher to go 3 for 3 since lefty Brian Bohanon did it against the Dodgers on July 20, 2001.Tulowitzki has heated up with eight hits in his last 12 at-bats, while Gonzalez (11 for 31) and 2013 NL batting champ Michael Cuddyer (14 for 33) have both hit safely in all eight games."At one point their pitcher is outhitting us," Chicago manager Robin Ventura lamented. "That's never a good sign. We need to be a lot better than that."The White Sox have lost nine of 11 interleague road games dating to last season, but Quintana has allowed just four runs while striking out 15 over 19 1/3 innings in three career interleague road starts. He's also 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA overall while facing NL opponents.After Quintana didn't fare in a decision 17 times in 2013, the Chicago bullpen failed to hold a three-run lead for him in a 10-9 home loss to Minnesota on Thursday. He allowed five runs -- two earned -- while striking out eight over six innings.Now Quintana faces a Colorado team that has hit .321 with eight extra-base hits in 56 at-bats against left-handers so far.The Rockies counter with their own southpaw in Franklin Morales, who surrendered three runs over 5 1/3 innings before the bullpen blew his lead in an 8-5 loss at Miami on Thursday.Morales didn't allow a hit in 1 1/3 innings of relief in Denver last season with Boston, but this will be his first start at Coors since his initial stint with the Rockies from 2007-10.He hasn't allowed a run over 3 1/3 innings in four relief appearances against the White Sox.After hitting .278 while averaging 5.7 runs in its first six games, Chicago couldn't get much going as it finished with a season-low five hits Monday. Alexei Ramirez drove in the only run with an RBI double, leaving him 11 for 25 on the season.
Michael Cuddyer and Troy Tulowitzki hit .353 and .338, respectively, in at-bats to end on a pitch on the inner third of the plate or farther in, ranking sixth and ninth in baseball, respectively, among qualified right-handed hitters. Jose Quintana threw 41 percent of his pitches to right-handed hitters in that zone, the ninth-highest rate in baseball.