DENVER (AP) - The hard-luck Colorado Rockies can't catch a break.
They lost 8-2 to San Diego on Sunday, their 10th loss in 13 games this month. They've lost five straight series.
And some 1,000 miles away, the San Francisco Giants were rained out at Chicago, meaning - what else? - that ace Tim Lincecum will pitch at Coors Field on Monday night instead.
``Look, if you are going to end up where we want to end up by season's end, and that's to win the western division championship, you're going to have to take on all comers whenever they show up,' Colorado manager Jim Tracy said.
``Yeah, we don't care who's going to pitch tomorrow or the next day,' Carlos Gonzalez said. ``Lincecum. Today, we faced a guy who's been struggling the whole year and he got the first win of the year against us. So, it doesn't matter if they got 100 wins or zero, we just need to go and play.
``That's how baseball is sometimes. You can't think about who's pitching, you can't think if he's good or bad. Just play the game. Don't think about your numbers. Don't look at the scoreboard or read about (them) or (listen) to what people are telling you.'
Tracy noted that the Rockies also have to face Cole Hamels in Philadelphia and will probably get both Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke in Milwaukee later in the week, too, with a lineup that's hitting .238 and has just one bona fide hot hitter in Todd Helton, who homered for the second straight game Sunday.
``You're going to get them all at some point in time. And so you have to go out there and do your thing and compete against those guys and beat them,' Tracy said. ``You won't beat them every single time, but you have to go out there and do your fair share when you're facing the top end of the rotation.'
Speaking of top pitchers, the Rockies' own ace is still searching for his first win.
Ubaldo Jimenez (0-3, 6.67 ERA), who pitches again Tuesday, tinkered with his delivery during his weekend bullpen session as he and the Rockies try to snap him out of his prolonged funk that began with a trip to the disabled list for a cut cuticle on his pitching thumb and has morphed into a full-blown loss of fastball command.
Tracy reiterated Sunday that Jimenez's arm is fine.
``Mechanically, he's out of sync just a little bit,' Tracy said.
So, a sports psychologist isn't the answer, either.
``There is no doubt that what we're dealing with is mechanical in nature,' Tracy said.
When May began, the Rockies had a major league-best 4 1/2-game lead in their division. Now, they're 1 1/2 games behind the surging Giants.
Their bullpen and defense, two stalwarts thus far, let them down over the weekend. After blowing a six-run lead Saturday, the Rockies trailed 3-2 heading into the seventh and watched the Padres score five times to ice it as right-hander Mat Latos (1-5) snapped a personal 10-game losing streak, one shy of the franchise futility mark.
Gonzalez, who's batting more than 100 points below last year's .336 mark, said the Rockies are getting weighed down by their offensive woes. He suggested they needed to play loose and relaxed as they did at spring training, where nobody worries about their stats because they don't count.
``We just need to get more focused and just play our game like we played in spring training,' he said. ``We didn't care about anything. We'd just go out there and have fun and just think about doing something good to help the team. We didn't care about spring training numbers because nobody cares about spring training numbers and we all did great. I think that's the mentality we have to take from now on.'
The one constant that remains in Colorado's clubhouse is the steadfast belief that they're much better than the results so far and that it's only a matter of time before they turn things around.
``We're going to put it together,' catcher Chris Iannetta insisted. ``We're too good not to.'
``We just can't seem to do anything right at all right now,' said Jason Hammel (3-3), who allowed six runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings Sunday and served up Ryan Ludwick's backbreaking three-run homer in the fourth.
``We've got a good ballclub coming in tomorrow and we've got to dust ourselves off and get ready to go again,' he said. ``Nobody's going to throw a pity party for us and we can't feel sorry for ourselves. Obviously, we're better than this and everybody knows that. It's just a tough run right now.'
Latos escaped largely unscathed despite walking three of his first eight batters.
The Rockies pushed across a run in the first without getting a hit. Seth Smith and Gonzalez drew one-out walks and Smith scored when second baseman Eric Patterson's double play relay to first base was wild.
Colorado put runners at second and third in the second, but Latos escaped the jam when home plate umpire Jerry Meals rung up Dexter Fowler for strike three on an inside heater.
After Ludwick's three-run shot made it 3-1, Helton went deep for the second straight game, his sixth homer, making it 3-2 heading into the seventh when things fell apart again for the Rockies.
Note: Gonzalez was hit on his right little toe with a pitch in the eighth, but said he's fine.
The Associated Press News Service
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