The Colorado Rockies play just three times in Denver over their next 15 games. Given the way they've performed on the road, manager Jim Tracy's team could fare well during that stretch.
Jhoulys Chacin goes for his fourth win in as many starts for the NL West-leading Rockies, who look to extend their longest road winning streak in two seasons to seven when they open a weekend series against the surging Florida Marlins on Friday night.
Colorado (13-5) capped a 3-3 homestand with Wednesday's 10-2 victory over San Francisco.
Ty Wigginton hit a three-run homer and tied a career high with four RBIs, Troy Tulowitzki had his first three hits of the series and Ryan Spilborghs added a pinch-hit three-run shot as the Rockies avoided the sweep with their highest-scoring game of the season.
"This car is not firing on all eight cylinders just yet," Tracy told the Rockies' official website. "It's still running and moving in the right direction, but it's not firing on all eight cylinders just yet."
The Rockies, though, are averaging 6.5 runs during their longest road winning streak since taking nine straight from June 4-22, 2009.
Colorado, which dropped three of four in Miami last season, could extend its road success with Chacin (3-0, 1.64 ERA) taking the ball.
In his last outing, the right-hander struck out seven and threw a six-hitter in last Friday's 5-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. It was Chacin's first career complete game and the first time a Rockies pitcher had a complete-game shutout at Coors Field since Aaron Cook on July 1, 2008.
"What a good-looking young pitcher,' Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "... I am impressed."
Chacin will make his first start against the Marlins after going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two relief appearances against them.
He'll face a Florida team looking to win a season-high fourth straight. The Marlins (11-6), winners of six of seven, are coming off a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh in which they outscored the Pirates 21-5.
"We've been playing well, we've been scoring runs, we've been finding ways to get those runs in," manager Edwin Rodriguez said after his team hit a season-high three home runs in Thursday's 9-5 victory.
The Marlins have gone deep just 11 times in 2011, and will be without leading home run hitter Logan Morrison, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a left foot sprain.
Morrison has four homers, but Scott Cousins could be quite a capable replacement. On Thursday, he became the first Marlin to hit a grand slam for his first homer with the club since Mike Stanton on June 18.
Stanton, who hit a solo shot Thursday, was 4 for 13 with a homer against the Rockies in 2010.
Florida will send out Anibal Sanchez (0-1, 5.51) in the series opener.
In his best start of the season, the right-hander struck out a season-high eight and allowed just two runs, but walked four and needed 113 pitches to get through six innings of Sunday's 3-2 loss at Philadelphia.
Sanchez is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA in two starts against Colorado.
If he struggles, the Marlins have one of the best bullpens in the majors, with 17 2-3 scoreless innings over the last six games.
Rockies right fielder Seth Smith, 4 for 5 against Sanchez, was 8 for 20 with three homers and seven RBIs against Florida in 2010.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved