Rockies counting on Hirsh

Rockies counting on Hirsh

The Rockies will be banking on Jason Hirsh on Tuesday against the Giants to reverse a two-game trend in which starting pitchers have been roughed up early and the bullpen has been worked often.

The trouble began Sunday, when Jeff Francis missed a start while completing his five-game suspension for throwing behind a batter during Spring Training. Byung-Hyun Kim pitched in his place, giving up five runs in three innings before leaving the game with a right thumb contusion.

Even with Kim's rough outing, Rockies starters entered Monday's game with a 3-2 record and 3.59 ERA, but Francis struggled while pitching on six days' rest and allowed seven runs in five innings, forcing the Rockies to go back to their taxed bullpen.

Hirsch pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his first start of the season, a win in San Diego, and lasted five innings while yielding three runs in L.A. in his second start. Tuesday's outing will be his Coors Field debut.

The rookie right-hander came to the Rockies during the offseason as part of the Jason Jennings trade with the Astros. He was the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year last year and the Texas League Pitcher of the Year in 2005, the first pitcher to win both honors.

Pitching matchup
COL: RHP Jason Hirsh (1-1, 3.09 ERA)
Hirsh made two bad pitches in Wednesday night's 3-0 loss to the Dodgers. Both pitches were up in the strike zone and both were hit hard, costing Hirsh three runs. Besides that third inning in which he gave up four consecutive hits and a balk, Hirsh was effective.

SF: RHP Matt Cain (0-1, 2.77 ERA)
Cain easily could be 2-0. He had one bad inning in his first start of the season April 4 against San Diego, allowing three runs on a pair of fifth-inning homers, but he blanked the Padres through the rest of his six-inning stint. He faced the Padres again in his second start and didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning, when San Diego scratched out a run to beat him, 1-0. Although Cain's repertoire revolves around his fastball, he has effectively mixed in sliders and changeups while allowing six hits in 13 innings.

Player to watch
Rockies left fielder Matt Holliday is a .471 career hitter against Cain (8-for-17) with a double, triple, two homers and four RBIs.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN Rocky Mountain

On radio
• KOA 850 AM

Up next
• Wednesday: Dodgers (RHP Derek Lowe, 2-1, 3.79) at Rockies (RHP Rodrigo Lopez, 1-0, 1.38), 6:35 p.m. MT
• Thursday: Dodgers (RHP Jason Schmidt, 1-2, 7.36) at Rockies (RHP Josh Fogg, 0-0, 3.97), 1:05 p.m. MT
• Friday: Padres (RHP Chris Young, 1-1, 4.30) at Rockies (RHP Aaron Cook, 0-0, 3.86), 7:05 p.m. MT

Owen Perkins is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.