After all that, Rocks at .500

Jul 24, 2007 2:09 AM

Now it isn’t even what week it is when describing how good the Rockies are. It has gone to what day this is.

Colorado was good enough to win four straight road games last week when beginning the trip 19-27 away from Coors. They ended it going 20 straight innings without scoring a run. In Washington, of all places.

In the three losses to the Nationals, the Colorado offense went to sleep — going 0-for-28 with runners in scoring position. But, all things considered, it wasn’t a bad trip thanks to the three-game sweep in Pittsburgh and help from the Mets and Phillies in dealing with the Dodgers and Padres last weekend on the West Coast.

So, beginning this most important week of the year, the Jekyll and Hyde Rockies stand as they did at the start of the year — with as many wins as losses. The difference being they are six games out of the division lead.

That margin is not too imposing considering that both the Padres and Dodgers visit Coors Field this week, with LA’s stop part of a four-game series.

Colorado owns a solid 26-19 home record, but both San Diego and Los Angeles are equally good on the road at 25-20 and 26-20 respectively.

The latest odds at Caesars Palace for Colorado winning the World Series are still 85/1, while currently at 40/1 to capture the NL pennant.

The Rockies have two hot pitchers set for the NL West leaders. Ace lefty Jeff Francis is 9-1 in his last 10 decisions and Josh Fogg, though losing last Sunday at Washington, had won five of his last six decisions. Fogg should be ready for the weekend set against the Dodgers.

Francis was slated to pitch the Monday night opener with the Padres against Greg Maddux and should be available for either Saturday or the Sunday finale at home with the Dodgers.

Ubaldo Jimenez, who picked up the win in his first start last week at Pittsburgh, is slated to pitch Tuesday against Chris Young, the NL leader in earned run average.

Aaron Cook, who is 7-3 lifetime against San Diego, is scheduled to go Wednesday against rising star Justin Germano, who is 6-4 with a 3.77 ERA for the Padres.

Following the seven-game homestand, Colorado goes back on the road for three at Florida and three at Atlanta before returning home Monday, Aug. 6 to start a seven-game stand with NL Central leader Milwaukee and the surging Chicago Cubs.

The Rockies have not played the Dodgers or Padres since mid April. San Diego holds a 4-2 lead in the series, while Los Angeles has won 3-of-5 against the Rockies.

Colorado outfielder Matt Holliday, the team leader in batting, runs scored and runs batted in, is fourth in the majors with 128 hits, eight behind the leader Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners.

Right fielder Brad Hawpe, who missed part of the Washington series with an injury, leads Colorado in homers with 17. Center fielder Willy Taveras has 24 stolen bases.