DENVER -- Rockies manager Clint Hurdle throws around the word 'resilient' a lot with his team this year. Every time the Rockies have hit their lowest point, they've responded with a long winning streak. After falling to a season-worst nine games below .500 on May 21, the Rockies won seven straight games. After a 1-9 road trip in late June, the Rockies reeled off five straight wins. After a 3-7 stretch, including dropping three of four this week to the last-place Pirates at home, the Rockies need another resilient run. They enter Friday's series opener against the Nationals, 4 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race, trailing five teams. They are also a second-half worst 7 1/2 games back of the division lead.
"We've worked too hard to get to this point in the season, where we're still playing for something," Hurdle said. "We've just got to find a way to fight through it, show up and play better." The Rockies are strangers to even being mentioned in the playoff race at this point in the season. The team is above .500 after 127 games for the first time since 1996. But an ugly 10-12 August has found the Rockies creeping back towards .500. At 64-63, the Rockies are only one game above .500 for the first time since July 28. Injuries to the starting rotation and to center fielder Willy Taveras haven't helped the Rockies' August cause. "We just haven't been clicking on all cylinders and those of us who have been playing, haven't been playing as well as we should have," right fielder Brad Hawpe said. But as has been the trend all season, when the Rockies start to under perform, they resiliently respond. "This team's proven to themselves they can put a streak together; they can put a long streak together with some depth and that's just what's in front of us -- five weeks of good baseball," Hurdle said. Injury update: Starting pitcher Aaron Cook is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday. If Cook doesn't have any setbacks during his session, he'll throw to hitters on Tuesday in San Francisco. Cook went on the disabled list on Aug. 16 with a left oblique strain. He has been throwing on flat ground, but not off the mound. Taveras continues to take batting practice and do sprints before games. He's eligible to return from the disabled list on Aug. 30, and Hurdle said early next week that they might send Taveras on a rehab assignment. Backup catcher Edwin Bellorin ran on Friday for the first time since straining his left hamstring in his first big league at-bat on Aug. 7. Bellorin said he ran at about 10 percent speed. He will catch his first bullpen Saturday. Although the team is in the beginning stages of discussing when he'll start playing, Bellorin said he's hopeful he'll begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Colorado Springs late next week. Baker starting: Jeff Baker started at DH Friday for Colorado Springs. Baker was hit in the head with a pitch on Aug. 10 and went on the DL with a mild concussion. He will be available on Saturday to pinch-hit for the Sky Sox and DH again on Sunday. Hurdle said if all goes well this weekend, Baker would travel with the Sky Sox next week and start playing in the field. Next up: The Rockies send rookie Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2, 4.54 ERA) against the Nationals for the second time this season on Saturday against Tim Redding (3-3, 2.53). Jimenez started his first game this season against the Nationals and took a no-decision in the Rockies' 10-inning, 5-4 loss. Game time Saturday is 6:05 p.m. MT.
C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.