The Colorado Rockies entered their most recent contest boasting arguably baseball's best offense and the majors' leader in batting average in Troy Tulowitzki.
After being no-hit by one of the top pitchers in the game, Colorado looks to get back on track Friday night against struggling starter Marco Estrada and the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.The Rockies (34-38) went into Wednesday's matchup with Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw leading the majors in average, hits, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage while pacing the NL in runs and homers.Kershaw mowed through the lineup, though, striking out 15 and walking none in an 8-0 win. The Rockies were outscored 18-3 while dropping all three games in the series after averaging 7.6 runs during a five-game winning streak.Their only baserunner came when Corey Dickerson reached on an error leading off the seventh inning."Probably a lot of times when he takes the mound, he has no-hit type stuff, and that was the case," manager Walt Weiss said. "I've seen some great pitching performances, but it's tough to be any better than Kershaw."Despite his hitless effort, Tulowitzki is batting .356 and will look to help the Rockies bounce back against Estrada, who has struggled over the last month after a solid start to the season.Estrada went 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA over his first eight starts but has gone 2/3 with a 7.01 ERA in six since. He allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings of Sunday's 13-4 loss to Cincinnati, marking the fifth time during his rough stretch that he's allowed at least four runs.Estrada (5-4, 4.82 ERA) surrendered three homers against the Reds and has given up a major league-worst 23."He's not pitching well right now," manager Ron Roenicke said. "He's making mistakes, and they're not missing it."Tulowitzki homered off Estrada the last time the right-hander faced the Rockies on April 2, 2013. He didn't receive a decision after giving up four runs and nine hits in five innings of an 8-4 loss.He seeks a better outing as Milwaukee (44-30) looks to win for the sixth time in seven road games after beating Arizona 4-1 on Thursday.Carlos Gomez's RBI single in the eighth extended his career-best hitting streak to 15, and he's reached base in 32 straight for the longest active streak in the majors.Jonathan Lucroy, hitting .419 over his last 16, had the day off for rest. He ranks second to Tulowitzki in batting average (.341) and is expected to be back in the lineup along with Ryan Braun, who also received the day off.Braun is 1 for 17 in his last five games at Coors Field, and he'll look to end that slump against Christian Bergman (0-1, 3.75).The rookie has pitched pretty well in his only two major league starts, throwing six innings in each and giving up three runs in Colorado's 5-4 win over San Francisco on Saturday.Mark Wiley, the Rockies' director of pitching operations, believes the right-hander has made a smooth transition to the majors."(If) the hitters understand that you're one-sided, they understand that you're getting into patterns," Miley told the team's official website. "As you move up, you've got to improve. That's what he's done."Colorado has won 20 of the last 26 home meetings with Milwaukee.
The Rockies have a league-leading HR/FB rate of 20 percent at home this season (league average HR/FB rate is 10.5 percent). Marco Estrada's HR/FB rate of 19 percent is fourth highest among qualified pitchers this season.