Poor pitching has the Colorado Rockies on the verge of their longest losing streak in 15 years, and giving the ball to Jordan Lyles again doesn't seem to be a solution.
Lyles looks to avoid losing a third straight start Wednesday night when the Rockies try to split this two-game set with the Los Angeles Angels.
Colorado's 5.48 ERA is the worst in the majors, and the staff has an 8.63 mark while losing 10 games in a row for the first time since 2005. The Rockies (11-18) last dropped 11 straight from July 4-17, 2000, and that's two shy of the franchise record set as an expansion team in 1993.
Rafael Betancourt provided no relief on the mound Tuesday, giving up three runs while getting just two outs in the eighth of a 5-2 defeat at Los Angeles.
Lyles (2-3, 4.42 ERA) has lost both of his starts during Colorado's current losing streak, giving up 11 runs and 17 hits with six walks in 12 innings. The right-hander was victimized by a big inning last Wednesday, surrendering three of the four runs he allowed in the fifth before completing seven in a 5-1 loss to Arizona.
"When in doubt, throw the fastball," Lyles said of his approach. "I had a couple of quick innings to start the game, then we had some trouble in the fifth."
Lyles is 2-1 with a 5.82 ERA in four games - three starts - against the Angels, and that all came two years ago with Houston. He won both of his interleague starts last year, yielding three runs in 14 2-3 innings.
Nick Hundley is batting .409 during a career-high 13-game hitting streak after getting an infield single Tuesday. The catcher has a .342 season average, 99 points higher than last year when he played 83 games between San Diego and Baltimore.
The Rockies have lost six straight meetings with the Angels (16-17), who have pounded their pitchers to the tune of a .308 batting average and 7.8 runs per game.
Los Angeles collected 10 hits with four doubles Tuesday, and Kole Calhoun had two of them among his three hits. The right fielder is 10 for 28 (.357) with four doubles in seven games.
Albert Pujols is looking to build on his clutch performance from Tuesday. He snapped out of an 0-for-13 skid with a leadoff single in the eighth before unexpectedly stealing second and scoring the go-ahead run on Johnny Giavotella's single.
"I've got the green light all the time, so I go whenever I feel like it," said Pujols, who hadn't stole a base since Aug. 15. "If I know that I'm going to make it, I go. That's it. ... In that opportunity, (the way) we've been struggling, you try to do whatever it takes to get that extra base. I felt that I could score easier from second base than first base."
The Angels are turning to Hector Santiago (2-2, 2.57), who is 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA over his last three home starts.
The only hit the left-hander gave up Thursday was a leadoff single, and he overcame four walks and two balks to toss 6 1-3 scoreless innings. However, closer Huston Street wasted the effort by giving up three runs in the ninth of a 3-2 home loss to Houston.
Santiago is facing the Rockies for the first time, and he's 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA in seven interleague starts.