The Milwaukee Brewers seem to bring out the best in Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki.
Off to a strong start after missing most of 2012 with a groin injury, Tulowitzki looks to help the Rockies to a series victory over the Brewers on Wednesday night at Miller Park.
Tulowitzki played 47 games in 2012 and missed the last four months of the season with an injury that required surgery. Through two games in 2013, he is 3 for 9 with a homer in each contest and four RBIs for Colorado (1-1), which won 8-4 at Milwaukee on Tuesday.
"It's great to have him out there,' said teammate Carlos Gonzalez, who is 4 for 10 with three RBIs and also homered in each of the first two games. "Any team would want him on their side. He is one of those players that can win games all by himself.'
Tulowitzki is 9 for 22 (.409) with three homers and seven RBIs in his last five games at Miller Park. His .397 lifetime average against the Brewers is his highest against any NL club.
First-year manager and former Rockies shortstop Walt Weiss understands that Tulowitzki and Gonzalez together might be the key to Colorado's chances this season.
"Tulowitzki looks great,' Weiss said. "Having him and Carlos in the three and four hole is very nice. Those two guys are going to have to be the ones if we are going to make a push this year.'
The Rockies, who roughed up Milwaukee's Tuesday starter Marco Estrada for four runs, nine hits and two homers, get their first look at highly touted Brewers prospect Wily Peralta in the finale.
Peralta went 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA and struck out 22 while not yielding a home run over 28 innings in five September starts last season. Manager Ron Roenicke hopes to see the swagger the right-hander showed during his brief time in the majors but lost at times while going 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in five spring training appearances.
"Peralta has a huge upside," Roenicke told the Brewers' official website during spring training. "If he pitches like he did a few of those games last year, he's got a huge upside."
Weiss hands the ball to Juan Nicasio, who went 2-3 with a 5.28 ERA in 11 starts in 2012 before a strained left knee ended his season in early June. The right-hander made 13 starts in 2011 before he suffered a broken neck after taking a line drive off the head in August.
"I want to pitch the whole season, not get hurt anymore," Nicasio said. "My body, my shoulder, my elbow - everything is ready."
In his only appearance versus Milwaukee, Nicasio allowed four hits without a walk in seven innings of a 4-0 home win July 15, 2011.
Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer in the third inning Tuesday that gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead, but Gonzalez tied it with a two-run shot in fifth. Braun is 2 for 8 with three RBIs and three strikeouts, and hitless with a strikeout in three career at_bats against Nicasio.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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