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Preview: Rockies (10-9) at Nationals (10-8)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Game: 1
Venue: Nationals Park
Date: June 20, 2013 7:05 PM EDT
  

The Colorado Rockies are near the top of the NL West despite a struggling rotation.

He may be past his prime, but the Rockies are hoping Roy Oswalt can give the pitching staff a lift when he makes his season debut in the opener of a four-game series with the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

Colorado (37-36) signed the 35-year-old Oswalt to a minor league contract May 2, and the right-hander went 3-2 with a 2.16 ERA in five starts for Double-A Tulsa. The three-time All-Star is 163-96 over 12 years, and he was 4-3 with a 5.80 ERA in 17 games - nine starts - last season for Texas.

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"He's always a competitive guy, a tough at-bat," manager Walt Weiss told the Rockies' official website. "He's a nice piece to have. He's ready to go. His velocity is real good and throwing all his pitches. He's done just about everything in this game, pitched in big games and been a staff ace."

It's highly unlikely he will be as effective as he was for Houston nearly a decade ago when he recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons. The Rockies, though, expect he can stabilize a shaky rotation.

Since May 30, Colorado's starting staff has baseball's third-worst ERA at 5.26. The rotation has only five wins in the last 25 games, but the Rockies are within 2 1/2 games of division-leading Arizona.

Oswalt will be facing a Washington team that snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-2, 11-inning victory in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Jayson Werth's RBI single with two outs in the ninth tied it for the Nationals (35-36), and two innings later Ian Desmond hit a grand slam.

"I think that's one of the best games we've had as a team all year," starter Gio Gonzalez said. "We battled, made adjustments and came out on top."

Desmond is batting .167 (4 for 24) lifetime against Oswalt - his lowest average of the 17 pitchers he has faced at least 18 times.

Oswalt is 7-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 19 starts against the Washington franchise, last facing the Nationals in 2011.

Washington counters with Jordan Zimmermann (9-3, 2.44 ERA), who is trying to bounce back from a subpar showing.

Zimmermann was tagged for six runs and eight hits - including two homers - in five innings against Cleveland on Saturday, but the Nationals rallied for a 7-6 win. It was just the second time in 11 starts the right-hander permitted more than two runs.

Returning to the nation's capital could help Zimmermann become the first Washington pitcher to earn 10 wins by June 20 since Livan Hernandez in 2005. Zimmermann is 6-0 with a 1.06 ERA in seven home games.

His last outing against the Rockies came at Nationals Park last July, and he allowed one run and three hits in seven innings but did not factor in the decision of a 4-3 loss. He is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five career starts in the series.

The Nationals won two of three in Colorado last week. Desmond went 7 for 10 with five RBIs and Ryan Zimmerman was 4 for 11 with a homer, three doubles and four RBIs.

Tyler Colvin had two home runs and five RBIs in the series for Colorado, while Carlos Gonzalez homered, tripled and drove in four runs.

Gonzalez hit his NL-leading 21st home run in Wednesday's 5-2 loss in Toronto - Colorado's sixth defeat in eight games.

Gonzalez, who leads the NL with 45 extra-base hits, is batting .440 with three homers in six games since facing Washington.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

 SERIES AT A GLANCE
GAME 1
Rockies at Nationals
Thu, Jun 20 Final 1 to 5
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 2
Rockies at Nationals
Fri, Jun 21 Final 1 to 2
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 3
Rockies at Nationals
Sat, Jun 22 Final 7 to 1
 Boxscores    Recaps
GAME 4
Rockies at Nationals
Sun, Jun 23 Final 7 to 6
 Boxscores    Recaps

 CURRENT LAS VEGAS LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 COL  +155   -150   7 
 WAS  -170   +130   
LAS VEGAS LINE MOVEMENTS

 CURRENT SPORTSBOOK LINE
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 COL  +155   -145   7 
 WAS  -170   +125   
OFFSHORE LINE MOVEMENTS

 BETTING TRENDS
 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 COL  31%   1%   79% 
 WAS  69%   99%   21% 
BT MOVEMENTS

 MLB HEAD TO HEAD
 Jun 13, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 WAS 5 Cover: +127 
 COL 4 Under: 9 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jun 12, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 WAS 5 Cover: +170 
 COL 1 Under: 6 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jun 11, 2013  Score  ATS Results 
 WAS 3 Push: 11 
 COL 8 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps

 MLB PREVIEWS
 Thursday, Jun 20
 
    Pirates at Reds
12:35 PM EDT
    White Sox at Twins
1:10 PM EDT
    Athletics at Rangers
2:05 PM EDT
    Brewers at Astros
2:10 PM EDT
    Red Sox at Tigers
7:05 PM EDT
    Rays at Yankees
7:05 PM EDT
    Rockies at Nationals
7:05 PM EDT
    Mets at Braves
7:10 PM EDT
    Cubs at Cardinals
8:15 PM EDT
    Mariners at Angels
10:05 PM EDT
    Dodgers at Padres
10:10 PM EDT
    Marlins at Giants
10:15 PM EDT
 
 
 
  
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