Flirting with mediocrity through the first two weeks of the season, the Colorado Rockies likely can't afford to be without the NL's reigning batting champion for too long.
It's uncertain if Michael Cuddyer will play Tuesday night when the visiting Rockies look to avoid a fifth consecutive road defeat to the San Diego Padres.Cuddyer is listed as day to day with a bruised elbow he suffered when slamming into the right field fence while trying to make a catch during Monday's 5-4 loss to San Diego (6-7).Though Cuddyer is 0 for 8 in his last three games since batting .415 while hitting safely in the first 10, he's a major presence in the Colorado lineup after hitting a career-high .331 in 2013."Hopefully, the swelling will go down and the inflammation will go down, and we'll see how quickly I can be back out there ... 100 percent day to day," Cuddyer told the team's official website. "It's almost the equivalent of getting hit by a pitch."The Rockies (6-8) blew a 4-0 lead Monday for their fifth loss in six games at Petco Park since winning their first four there last season.After taking two of three from Detroit over the weekend, the Padres scored the tying and go-ahead runs on a wild pitch and a throwing error on the same play in the eighth inning Monday.With two hits, San Diego's Will Venable raised his average to .196 on the season, but to .324 in his last 10 games against the Rockies.Teammate Jedd Gyorko's average dropped to .152 by going hitless in three at-bats hours after he signed a five-year extension worth $35 million. Though the second baseman is off to a slow start in his second season, the club believes he's worth building around after recording 23 homers and 63 RBIs as a rookie in 2013."It's good to have the possibility and potential to pencil Jedd into the lineup for a long time," manager Bud Black said.Black hands the ball to Robbie Erlin (1-0, 1.35 ERA), who allowed a run and four hits while striking out six without a walk over six innings of a 2-1 victory at Cleveland on Wednesday."We've seen the development of a young pitcher," Black said of Erlin, who went 3-3 with a 4.12 ERA in 11 games and nine starts in 2013 and debuted this season with a scoreless two-thirds of an inning out of the bullpen April 2."He's still got a ways to go, but if you look back to last year and look (Wednesday), it was great to see," Black added.This will be the left-hander's first appearance against the Rockies, who counter with Juan Nicasio (1-0, 3.75).The right-hander yielded a solo homer and three other hits over seven innings of a 12-2 win against Arizona on April 4, but gave up four runs and eight hits in five during a 10-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.Nicasio is 2-0 with a 2.87 ERA in five starts against the Padres. He allowed two runs, four hits and struck out seven in each of his two versus San Diego last year when he didn't factor in the decision of either outing.Colorado hopes Charlie Blackmon can stay hot after recording two more hits in the series opener. He's 9 for 17 (.529) in his last five games, raising his season average to .478.