Major League Baseball
Preview
Pittsburgh at Colorado
When: 8:40 PM ET, Friday, July 25, 2014
Where: Coors Field, Denver, Colorado

The Pittsburgh Pirates are making a move toward the top of the National League Central and have the luxury of facing an opponent moving swiftly in the opposite direction. The Pirates attempt to continue their climb when they open a three-game series at the fading Colorado Rockies on Friday. The Rockies are in last place in the NL West and began the second half by dropping three straight at Pittsburgh last weekend.

Colorado snapped a seven-game slide with a win over Washington on Wednesday but is operating without MVP candidate Troy Tulowitzki (hip) and is only 7-25 over its last 32 games. The Pirates held the Rockies, who lead the majors in batting average and slugging percentage, to a total of seven runs in the three-game sweep last weekend and finished up their homestand by taking two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pittsburgh is battling Milwaukee and St. Louis for the top spot in the NL Central and embarking on a key 10-game road trip against teams from the West beginning with the Rockies.

TV:
8:40 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh, Colorado)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates RH Charlie Morton (5-9, 3.28 ERA) vs. Rockies LH Brett Anderson (0-3, 4.00)

Morton is winless in his last three starts despite allowing two or fewer runs in two of those turns. The 30-year-old held Colorado to two runs on five hits in seven innings on Saturday but did not factor in the decision in a game Pittsburgh went on to win 3-2. Morton is 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies.

Anderson is making his third straight start after a three-month stint on the disabled list and is coming off an encouraging outing. The Texas native held the Pirates to one run on four hits and struck out eight in seven innings while going up against Morton on Saturday. Anderson has made only two home starts this season and has not fared well, allowing 11 runs - eighth earned - while walking six in 11 total innings.

WALK-OFFS


1. Pirates 3B Pedro Alvarez (knee) sat out Wednesday but could return on Friday.

2. Colorado LF Carlos Gonzalez is 7-for-32 with 14 strikeouts since returning from surgery on his finger.

3. Pittsburgh CF Andrew McCutchen was held to 2-for-11 in the three-game series last weekend and has yet to homer since the All-Star break.

PREDICTION: Pirates 5, Rockies 4

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Pittsburgh 54-47 W2 34-21 20-26 12-5 22-30 14-5 6-7
Colorado 41-60 W1 25-27 16-33 11-16 3-13 21-22 6-9
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh Colorado
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/20/14 COL 3 PIT 5 .343 1 .911 .258 2 .775
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh N. Walker .583 7 1.532
Colorado C. Dickerson .500 4 1.100
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh N. Walker 1 5 2
Colorado C. Gonzalez 1 1 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 1.55 .276 24
Colorado 3.76 .230 24
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen .318 120 .974
Colorado T. Tulowitzki .340 107 1.035
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Pittsburgh A. McCutchen 17 59 63
Colorado T. Tulowitzki 21 71 52
Pitching ERA Avg K
Pittsburgh 3.68 .258 736
Colorado 5.06 .281 660