Rockies-Diamondbacks Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 03, 2012
The Colorado Rockies are surging after an impressive homestand. Carrying that success into Chase Field may be a problem. The Rockies will try to snap a five-game road losing streak to the Arizona Diamondbacks as the NL West rivals open a three-game series Monday night. Colorado (23-30) completed a 6-1 homestand with Sunday's 3-2 win over major league-leading Los Angeles. That's a very encouraging stretch for a team that headed into that run at Coors Field with 17 losses in 22 games. "I think 6-1 is good way to start heading in the direction we want to start heading," manager Jim Tracy told the team's official website. Continuing that success away from Denver may be a tough task since the Rockies are 8-15 on the road this season, and 4-14 in their last 18 in Arizona (25-29). They've been outscored 37-10 during a five-game losing streak at Chase Field. Carlos Gonzalez's hot bat could help Colorado post a rare victory in the desert. The left fielder is hitting .424 with seven homers and 15 RBIs in the last 14 games. Gonzalez, though, is hitting .266 with four homers and has knocked in 13 on the road while he's a .389 hitter with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs at home. He's 4 for 16 in his last four games at Phoenix, but has homers on two of his four hits in nine at-bats versus Joe Saunders, Monday's scheduled starter. While Gonzalez continues to try to pace the Rockies at the plate, rookie Christian Friedrich (3-1, 5.59) looks to win a third consecutive start in his first meeting with the Diamondbacks. The left-hander has received ample support while winning his last two trips to the mound. He's compiled a 6.55 ERA in those games while the offense has backed him with 17 total runs, including Wednesday's 13-5 victory over Houston. In that outing, Friedrich allowed five runs and 11 hits with six strikeouts in six innings while Gonzalez had his first three-homer game. "I was going back to my game, trying to get ahead, stay ahead and put them away as quick as I can," Friedrich said. "The quicker I did that, the better off I was." Friedrich is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three road starts. Arizona has also put together a strong stretch, beating San Diego 6-0 on Sunday behind Trevor Cahill's six-hitter for its third win in four games. Saunders (3-3, 3.61) will try to provide the Diamondbacks with a third straight strong performance from a starting pitcher. The veteran left-hander is 5-1 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts against the Rockies and is 3-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four at home. Saunders, though, is 1-2 with a 6.12 ERA in his last six outings overall, but was solid in his most recent outing. He allowed one run and five hits while striking out five in 5 1-3 innings before leaving without a decision in a 3-1 loss at San Francisco on Tuesday. "I felt like I had some big outs when I needed to and the defense played well behind me," Saunders told the team's official website. Paul Goldschmidt has put together a career-high 12-game hitting streak, batting .419 with four homers, five RBIs and six walks during that run. The second-year first baseman has hit three of those home runs in the past four games, including a solo shot Sunday. He's batting .306 with eight RBIs in 10 games versus Colorado.
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