Seeking their first season-opening sweep since 2001, the Colorado Rockies will turn to one of their top prospects.
Eddie Butler will have the support of a streaking offense Wednesday night when the visiting Rockies close out a three-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Butler (1-1, 6.75 ERA) made three appearances last season for the Rockies (2-0) but was largely ineffective, surrendering 12 runs over 16 innings en route to a 1-1 record. Despite the poor start to his career, he did manage to post a quality start on Sept. 20 by allowing just one run in six innings against Arizona.
The right-hander expects a much-improved effort this season after further developing his sinker.
"All through the minor leagues, that's how I felt about my sinker: I could throw it any time to anybody and know they're going to hit a weak ground ball, break the bat, swing through it; that it was going to be tough for them to square it up," Butler told the Rockies' official website. "It's the kind of stuff I'm able to do. I could tell some guys it's coming and they still won't hit it far."
Colorado has hit a number of balls awfully hard in the first two games of the season. After scoring eight runs off Kyle Lohse in 3 1-3 innings on Monday, the Rockies used a three-run fourth to get going against Matt Garza on the way to Tuesday's 5-2 victory.
"Mentally, our team is in the right place, and we're just executing really well right now," DJ LeMahieu said.
Nolan Arenado has led the charge, going 5 for 9 with a home run and five RBIs, while oft-injured stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez have combined for seven runs and four RBIs.
Tulowitzki has three of the Rockies' 12 doubles, which tied the modern day team record over the first two games of a season set by the New York Giants in 1912. The series win over Milwaukee also marks Colorado's first road series victory since June 13-15.
"What sticks out to me when I hear that is that I'm really happy that it's on the road," Tulowitzki said. "The first thing we would hear if we are at home was about how it's a hitters' ballpark, and they are at home, so that's why all the doubles. So wait until they go on the road."
They'll try to stay hot against Wily Peralta (17-11, 3.53), who's entering his third full season in Milwaukee's rotation off an impressive 2014. After posting a 4.37 ERA in 2013 behind a 1.77 strikeout-to-walk ratio that was 42nd out of 43 qualifying NL pitchers, Peralta bumped that ratio to a more respectable 2.52 last season.
Peralta, however, has been shaky against Colorado in his career. He's 2-2 with a 6.35 ERA in four starts in the series, though he won both last season behind 14 runs of support.
The Brewers, who went 6-1 against the Rockies in 2014, haven't been swept at home against Colorado since June 9-11, 2009, but they should have Ryan Braun back for the finale. The slugger missed Tuesday's contest after exiting the opener with a strain in his right side, but manager Ron Roenicke said Braun would likely play Wednesday.
It's less likely that Colorado's Justin Morneau will. The first baseman, who has a history of concussions, left in the seventh inning Tuesday after he was hit in the neck by a throw while running the bases.
''With (Morneau's) history, we're always going to be careful,'' manager Walt Weiss said. ''That's why I took him out.''