Padres, Rockies Headed in Opposite Directions

If there was ever a time to play the Colorado Rockies, this is it.

The Padres' opponent this week at Petco Park has the worst record in baseball, is missing superstars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez and will start two rookies in the series.

They have also lost eight of 10 and are the worst road team in the league (18-41).

Meanwhile, the Friars stay hot with wins in six of their last eight games. They have lost just one series since the All-Star break and have the fourth-most runs in the National League during that time. Of course, they still have the worst overall batting average in the league and are last in baseball in runs scored by a wide margin on the season.

But we’re not here to talk about the past. It’s time to look to the future, a glimpse of which arrives this week as outfield prospect Rhymer Liriano is expected to join the team.

The 23-year-old hit .292 with 14 homers and 20 stolen bases in the minors this year, spending time with both Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso. He’s considered the No. 6 prospect in the Padres system.

An otherwise dreary season is starting to look up. This is a good reminder that things could be worse for the Padres: They could be the Rockies.

Here’s how the series stacks up.

Monday, 7:10 p.m.:
Jesse Hahn (R, 7-3, 2.28) vs. Jordan Lyles (6-1, 3.72)
Tuesday’s loss to the Twins (5 2/3 IP, 3 ER) snapped Hahn’s streak of three straight starts allowing just one run. Lyles made his first start in two months last week after breaking his hand, beating the Cubs.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (R, 2-3, 3.10) vs. Yohan Flande (L, 0-4, 5.77)
Despaigne has seen his ERA rise more than 2 points (0.92 to 3.10) in his three-game losing streak. The rookie Flande is still looking for his first big-league win in six starts.

Wednesday, 3:40 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 8-10, 3.51) vs. Matzek (R, 2-7, 5.32)
In his start against the Rockies last month, Kennedy allowed just one run and struck out nine in the win. He has two straights starts allowing just one run. Matzek, another rookies, has just one win in his last 10 starts.

Who to watch:
Hot-hitting Tommy Medica should be back in the lineup after getting hit in the head on Saturday. He is hitting .396 since the All-Star break. Outfielder Seth Smith was the hero on Sunday, putting the Pirates away with a three-run triple in the fifth inning. He has six RBIs in his last three games. First baseman Yonder Alonso is 10 for his last 20 with three doubles. Shortstop Everth Cabrera may miss some time with a hamstring injury.

Rockies: With Tulo and CarGo out, it’s hard to find a recognizable name in this lineup. Outfielder Corey Dickerson has impressed with 14 homers, 46 RBIs and a .319 average. He also has a five-game hitting streak. Third baseman Nolan Arenado has five long balls and 16 RBIs since the All-Star break.

Coming up: This is your last chance to see the Friars at home for a while, as they embark on a 10-game road trip starting Thursday. It includes trips to St. Louis, Los Angeles and Arizona.

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