Rockies, Diamondbacks continue to battle for playoff spots
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
PHOENIX -- This spring, Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black told his players they are good enough to win anywhere.
Words to live by.
The Rockies won their franchise-record 42nd road game with a 6-2 comeback victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of a three-game series on Friday, maintaining their status in the tight NL West and wild-card races while putting the Diamondbacks in an even more precarious position.
"My message to the team, as far back as spring training, is we're a good team no matter where we play," said Black, who led his team to an NL wild-card berth in his first season with the Rockies in 2007.
"On the road. In the cold. In the heat. In the rain. In the wind. It doesn't matter. We can win. And we should win if we play our game, if we play the way the Rockies need to play. I think our guys understand that."
Colorado right-handed Antonio Senzatela (5-6, 4.81 ERA) will face Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin (11-6, 3.09) in the second game of the series Saturday.
The Diamondbacks, who led the NL West on Sept. 1, have lost 10 of their last 13 games and have dropped six games behind the division-leading Dodgers and 5 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the second wild-card spot.
Colorado closed to within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Dodgers in the NL West, and the Rockies are 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for the second wild-card berth.
The Rockies rallied for four two-out runs in the eighth inning off four Arizona pitchers for the fourth victory over the Diamondbacks in the last five meetings.
It was a pick-me-up for an offense that had scored only nine runs in the previous six games.
"I'd like to say that we have really hit the ball hard, but honestly I can't," Black said. "It's been a little difficult, but tonight was a good sign. We've had some opportunities on this trip and we haven't got the key hit.
"But we have to let that go. We have to turn the page on the last seven days and go from there."
Arizona manager Torey Lovullo returned his regulars to the lineup after giving his top four hitters -- Paul Goldschmidt, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Eduardo Escobar -- an unexpected day off Wednesday, when the Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 9-1 and got homers from Christian Walker, Chris Owings and Jeff Mathis.
They did not get a runner past second base after Peralta's two-run homer in the first inning Friday.
Colorado again played without All-Star shortstop Trevor Story, and there is no announced timeline for his return. He has missed three games in a row after suffering a right elbow injury in a game against the Dodgers last Monday.
Story took early batting practice before Friday's game and did some throwing, but he will not be rushed.
"This is still an injury that if you push it you could go backwards," Black said, adding, "the thinking is that another day, maybe the next two or three days" until Story might return
"I think it is going to depend on some of the tests Trevor does during the game in the training room. How he reports tomorrow. Today was encouraging, just because he had a bat in his hand. He was taking batting practice. He had a glove on his hand. He was making some throws. And he did this with the confidence that he'll play at some point in the next 10 games.
"I wish I could tell you when."
Senzatela has made 11 starts this season after joining the rotation on July 3. His first was his best - three hits over seven scoreless innings in an 8-1 victory over San Francisco at Coors Field.
He has faced the Diamondbacks twice as a starter and once in relief this season, going 0-3 while allowing 10 runs in 14 innings. He was the loser in the only game the Rockies lost to Arizona in their last series at Coors Field, giving up seven hits and four runs in six innings of a 6-3 loss.
Senzatela, in his second year, is 0-4 with a 7.66 ERA in seven career outings, including three starts, against the Diamondbacks and 0-2 in Chase Field.
Corbin is having the best year of his career in every measurable except victories, mostly because he has received an average of fewer than four runs per game. It is the seventh-lowest support among qualifiers.
He has a career-high 235 strikeouts, the first time he has exceeded 200, and has walked only 43. Only the Mets' Jacob deGrom and Washington's Max Scherzer have a better strikeout-to-walk ratio. Corbin's 1.03 WHIP ranks fourth.
Corbin will face the Rockies for the fourth time this season, the second time at Chase Field. He won the season opener at home 8-2, giving up two runs in 5 2/3 innings, and has two no-decisions at Coors Field. He is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA against Colorado this season and is 8-3 with a 4.63 ERA in 20 career appearances, including 19 starts, against them.
Nolan Arenado has hit two homers off Corbin this season and DJ LeMahieu has one.
Updated September 22, 2018