After losing four of their last six games, the Braves look to get back to winning like they were throughout the bulk of April. They will do so in the thin air at Coors Field as they travel to Denver to take on the Rockies in a three game weekend series. The Rockies are coming off of a day off yesterday and the Braves series will wrap up a nine game homestand for their club. During the homestand they took two of three games from the early season's surprise Dodgers and just one of three from the Mets.
For the Braves, this road trip goes through Denver of course and then makes a three game stop in Chicago, followed by three more games in Saint Louis. The Braves are in the middle of a stint in which they play 33 games in 34 days, and such a stretch may have an adverse affect on the club. As most Braves fans know, Chipper Jones needs many off days to rest his knees and his absence from the starting lineup is felt tremendously. Following yesterday's loss to Joe Blanton and the Phillies, the Braves are 11-2 when Chipper starts and a weak 4-9 when he isn't on the lineup card. Chipper's knees often flame up after long flights, and Atlanta to Denver isn't exactly the bloop single of air travel, so we'll keep an eye on that.
The Rockies come into the series with a record of 12-12 good for third in the NL West. You can always expect extra base hits and runs coming from the mile high ball club. While the Rockies' average of .266 is good for fourth in the National League, their .455 slugging percentage is just two points behind the Cardinals for second in the league. Much like the Phillies, the Rockies score their runs late in games. In fact, Colorado has scored more runs in the seventh inning or later than any other NL team with 89 in the final third of ball games. Starting left fielder Carlos Gonzalez has been on a tear recently batting .412 since April 24th, with a league leading 18 RBI over that span.
Much like you would expect the offense to produce more extra base hits and runs in Denver, the Rockies pitching staff falls victim to the same mountain air. The staff's 4.69 ERA is second to worst in the NL and it has allowed the most homers (28) to the opposition so far early on in the season. Starting pitcher Jeremie Guthrie was recently placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder sprain, and the Braves will face his replacement in the first game of their series.
Full matchups after the jump...
As much as I know you all like to gaze into the eyes of our starters, the player info widget isn't working currently, so I'll check back to see if Huddy's redbeard has become available later in the day. For now, just the stats...
Friday (Cuatro de Mayo) 8:40 PM ET
Saturday (Cinco de Mayo) 8:10 PM ET
Sunday (Seis de Mayo) 3:10 PM ET
Rafael Betancourt - RHP (Closer)
Matt Belisle - RHP
Rex Brothers - LHP
Esmil Rogers - RHP
Matt Reynolds - LHP
Josh Roenicke - RHP
Edgmer Escalona - RHP