Padres
(70-83)
vs.
Rockies
(86-66)

The Colorado Rockies are closing in on a spot in the postseason - something Jason Marquis has gotten used to in his career - but the team would much prefer to have an effective Marquis once it gets there.

The 15-game winner will try to solve some of his recent control problems Wednesday night as the Rockies continue their series against the visiting San Diego Padres .

Although Marquis' teams have made the playoffs in each of his nine major league seasons, the right-hander hasn't started a postseason game since 2004.

He'll be asked to play a bigger October role for Colorado (86-65) this year, with the Rockies in strong position with 11 regular season games to play. They hold a five-game lead on San Francisco and Atlanta in the NL wild-card race, and their current three-game winning streak has trimmed their magic number to seven.

Marquis (15-11, 3.84 ERA) is a big reason why they're in that position, as he turned in 19 quality starts in his first 25 outings. Only one of his last five has been a quality start, though, as the right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA in that stretch.

He has walked nine in his last two starts, including five in six innings during the Rockies' 7-5 loss at Arizona on Friday. Marquis didn't get the loss, but he gave up four runs and a home run to Brandon Allen , just the fifth homer off Marquis in his last 100 innings.

"I felt good with where I was at," Marquis said. "One mistake pitch gets hit out of the ballpark, costs you the game. I'm disappointed about the loss."

The Rockies were more fortunate Tuesday, allowing four runs in the ninth inning before holding on for an 11-10 win in the series opener. Colorado's bullpen situation should be more secure, however, with closer Huston Street back.

Street, returning from a biceps problem, retired the only two batters he faced in the seventh inning in his first appearance since Sept. 1, and Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he'll immediately begin closing games.

"When I handed (Tracy) the ball, he said, 'You convinced me,'" said Street, who has converted 33 of 34 saves this year and hasn't blown one since June 2.

It will also help the Rockies if they continue to hit as they have in their last three games. They've totaled 26 runs and hit six home runs in that stretch, with Clint Barmes hitting his 23rd and driving in three runs Tuesday.

San Diego's Tim Stauffer (4-7, 3.56) will try to quiet Colorado's lineup. The right-hander had been 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA in his previous four starts before Friday, when he allowed three runs, four hits and four walks in three innings of a 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh.

"I really didn't have anything out there," Stauffer said.

Stauffer had better stuff Sept. 12, when he allowed one run and three hits in six innings of the Padres' 3-2, 10-inning win over Colorado. He earned a victory in his lone appearance at Coors Field, tossing seven strong innings in a 12-2 victory July 8, 2005.

Marquis won his first two starts against San Diego this season, allowing one run over 16 innings, but he walked four and gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss Sept. 13.

The Padres (69-83) took two of three from Colorado in that series and have won 17 of their last 28 overall, but they're 2-5 in Denver this year.

BUY Padres vs. Rockies Tickets
Batting
Runs Avg. OBP SLG
COL 804 0.261 0.343 0.441
SD 638 0.242 0.321 0.381
Pitching & Defense
Runs ERA WHIP QS
COL 715 4.24 1.359 94
SD 769 4.37 1.396 77