The slumping Atlanta Braves have cooled off quite a bit since getting off to a blazing start.
Coming off their first home loss, the Colorado Rockies are looking to get back on track, too.
Tied for the best record in baseball, the Braves try to continue their recent success against the Rockies as these clubs open a three-game set Monday night at Coors Field.
After averaging 5.2 runs while opening 12-1, Atlanta (13-5) has come back down to earth in dropping four of five. Having scored just nine runs while batting .195 over that stretch, the Braves are coming off their third straight loss, 4-2 at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
"We're just not capitalizing on our opportunities offensively," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team dropped to 0-5 when going without a homer. "We're not getting that big hit when we need it. We're not catching any breaks either, like a broken-bat hit or a pitch going to the backstop. It'll turn around, though."
The Braves could get a boost from cleanup hitter Freddie Freeman , who's expected to be activated from the disabled list after going 5 for 10 with two doubles during a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. Freeman was 7 for 17 with a homer and seven RBIs before suffering a strained right oblique April 6. Dan Uggla should also be available after sitting out Sunday due to a strained left calf.
Despite their recent woes, the Braves still lead the majors with 29 long balls, one ahead of Colorado (13-5). The Rockies also have a major league-best .482 slugging percentage and rank second with 104 runs.
Colorado had opened a franchise-best 8-0 at home and won eight straight overall before falling 5-4 to Arizona in Sunday's series finale. Troy Tulowitzki went 2 for 4 with his sixth homer, but the Rockies gave up three runs over the last two innings - including two in the ninth - with closer Rafael Betancourt unavailable after pitching the previous two days
"This is a good team and we battle every single game," said Carlos Gonzalez , batting a team-high .364. "If you're going to lose your winning streak, it's better to do it the way we did today, playing good baseball. We just had one bad inning at the end."
Colorado could have a hard time regrouping versus Atlanta, which has taken 12 of 15 in the series, including seven of the last eight. The Braves are batting .327 and have scored 38 runs during a four-game winning streak in Denver.
Atlanta now gives the ball to Mike Minor (2-1, 0.95 ERA), who's struck out 16 and walked just one over his first three starts spanning 19 innings. The left-hander gave up one run and five hits over six frames but was saddled with a hard-luck loss in Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Kansas CIty.
While Minor was tagged for a career-high eight runs over five innings at Colorado on May 5, he struck out seven over seven innings of one-hit ball Sept. 5, in his only other start in the series.
The Rockies counter with Jeff Francis (1-1, 8.25), who's allowed 15 runs - 10 earned - 16 hits and six walks over his last two starts spanning just six innings. The left-hander is 3-2 with a 6.49 ERA over five career outings against the Braves, but he hasn't faced them since 2007.
Francis will need to be cautious with Justin Upton , who's gone 8 for 22 with two homers in their matchups. The slugging left fielder, who leads the majors with nine homers, is batting .341 with five long balls and 16 RBIs over his last 25 games against the Rockies.
|April 20, 2013||Dan Uggla||Day-to-Day||Left game - left calf strain|
|April 20, 2013||Blake DeWitt||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|April 16, 2013||Luis Avilan||Day-to-Day||Left game - left hamstring injury|
|April 07, 2013||Cristhian Martinez||15-Day DL||Right shoulder strain|
|April 07, 2013||Freddie Freeman||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 06, 2013||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Sprained left thumb|
|April 20, 2013||Jhoulys Chacin||15-Day DL||Left lower back strain|
|February 14, 2013||Edwar Cabrera||60-Day DL||Left shoulder impingement|
DENVER (AP) -- The game between the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies , the teams with the best record in the majors, was delayed because of snow.
The Braves and the Rockies entered their three-game series that was set to start Monday with 13-5 records, and they'll remain that way another day because Denver was hit with another snowstorm.
The game was rescheduled as part of a split-doubleheader on Tuesday, with the first game set for 1:10 p.m and the previously scheduled night game at 6:40 p.m.
"It's part of the game," Gonzalez said. "I'll look for a little disruption. We just lost three in a row to the Pirates."
Atlanta's Mike Minor (2-1) is set to pitch the first game against Jeff Francis (1-1), with Julio Teheran (0-0) starting the night game against Colorado's Jon Garland (2-0). They'll likely be pitching in cold weather. Tuesday's forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s with the possibility of snow lasting through the morning and possibly up until game time.
The postponement was the third in eight days at Coors Field because of snow. The Rockies and New York Mets played a split-doubleheader last Tuesday. The game was rescheduled for June 27.
Colorado enters coming off its first loss in nine home games this season, a 5-4 setback Sunday to Arizona.
Neither Rockies manager Walt Weiss nor Rockies players were made available to reporters Monday.
With the Braves cooling off after a 12-1 start, manager Fredi Gonzalez wasn't all that upset over the postponement, though he didn't relish the notion of playing in cold weather.
The Braves will be getting additional help, though. Freddie Freeman was set to come off the 15-day disabled list after recovering from a strained right oblique.
Gonzalez said Freeman will be ready to play Tuesday.
"He's good," Gonzalez said. "A couple of guys may not play both games, give somebody a breather, but Free's good."
Gonzalez did say that Dan Uggla , who had to leave the game early Saturday because of a left calf strain, probably would play only one of the two games Tuesday.
"All of a sudden he comes out of the game because he had a calf thing and then he plays 18 innings? I don't think that's smart," Gonzalez said.
Freeman, who was 7 for 17 with a homer and seven RBIs before straining his right oblique April 6, said he's anxious to get back on the field.
"The last 15 days have been hard watching the team on TV," he said. "I'm off the DL so I'm happy."
Freeman was a little wary of resuming play at Coors Field, however. During a series in Colorado a year ago, a wind storm left Freeman with a dry eye condition that bothered him for weeks.
"I was excited (to come off the DL), but then I was like, `Oh, man, that's where my eyes went bad,"' Freeman said. "Hopefully the wind dies down and I can get through the series OK."