Shelby Miller has had a bizarre start to his tenure with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but he's feeling optimistic despite another uneven performance his last time out.
Still seeking his first victory, the right-hander might not find the going easier against a Colorado Rockies team that has knocked him around in recent meetings.
Trevor Story and the Rockies look to continue their hot hitting Sunday when they chase a fifth win in six visits this season and first sweep at Chase Field in 12 years.
Miller was expected to be a key member of Arizona's revamped rotation after he was acquired in a five-player deal in December. The right-hander, however, has struggled to regain the form that led him to a 3.02 ERA and an All-Star appearance last year.
He left after 1 2/3 innings at San Diego on April 16 because he injured his hand while scraping it on the mound during his follow through. He then insisted that wasn't the reason why he lasted just two innings in a 6-2 win at San Francisco on April 21.
Though he allowed five runs and walked four over five innings in Tuesday's 8-2 loss to St. Louis, Miller and manager Chip Hale both believe he's close to getting on track.
"It was definitely a step forward from what he was dealing with," Hale said. "The ball was coming out of his hand free and easy. His cutter was good."
Miller (0-2, 8.69 ERA) hopes to keep making strides as Arizona looks to avoid its third straight loss and seventh in 10 games on a homestand that concludes Sunday.
That could be difficult against a Colorado team averaged 6.8 runs and batted .308 in the first five meetings and will try for its first sweep at Arizona since 2004.
"The truth of the matter is they're outplaying us," Hale said. "We have to come back tomorrow and try to salvage one of these games before the long road trip."
Story wasn't able to break Jose Abreu's rookie record with an 11th April home run, but he still had a triple, double and three RBIs in Saturday's 5-2 victory. Carlos Gonzalez added three hits, while Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado had two apiece.
Story is 8 for 23 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in the series. Gonzalez is 12 for 29 with four homers and 10 RBIs in a seven-game hitting streak versus Arizona (12-14).
"The kid (Story) keeps doing it," manager Walt Weiss said.
Miller is 0-2 with a 7.64 ERA in his last three meetings with Colorado (11-12). He allowed six runs and three homers over six innings in an 11-6 home victory April 5.
Story, Nick Hundley and DJ LeMahieu took Miller deep in that contest. LeMahieu is 5 for 11 and Hundley 4 for 9 lifetime off him, though Arenado has gone 1 for 12.
Right-hander Chad Bettis (2-1, 3.77) will try to rebound from his first loss after allowing four runs over 6 2/3 innings in Monday's 6-1 home defeat versus Pittsburgh.
"You take what you can, learn from it and move on," he told MLB's official website.
Bettis gave up five runs over 5 1/3 innings versus the Diamondbacks on April 5. Star slugger Paul Goldschmidt homered off him and is 4 for 9 all-time in the matchup.