Jimenez hopes to start streak vs. Astros

Jimenez hopes to start streak vs. Astros

DENVER -- The Rockies look for their second win in a row, and they will count on right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez pitching against the Astros on Tuesday night in the first game of the three-game set.

In his last outing on Wednesday, Jimenez struck out six and held the Giants to one run in seven innings for his second win of the year. Before that, Jimenez had lost four straight decisions. Last season, Jimenez lost seven of his first eight decisions and didn't earn his second and third wins until June 21 and July 2.

"Last year, I was kind of hard [on myself] being my first full year in the big leagues," Jimenez said. "This year, I have more experience. I'm feeling good right now. I'm feeling real confident out there."

Manger Clint Hurdle said Jimenez's quicker rebound this season has been instrumental in his maturation.

"What separates great from good from average from mediocre is the ability to bounce back and shorten those tough times," Hurdle said. "We're all going to have them. The recovery time is what's critical, and last year it was disappointing after the second half of the season he had in 2007."

For continued success, both Hurdle and Jimenez agree that fastball command is a must.

"If I'm able to locate my fastball wherever I want, then I'm going to be successful," Jimenez said.

Opposing Jimenez will be Astros rookie right-hander Felipe Paulino, who will be making his first visit to Coors Field. In 11 career appearances, Paulino owns a 3-3 record with a 6.13 ERA.

Pitching matchup
COL: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (2-4, 5.45 ERA)
Jimenez had his best outing of the season on Wednesday, especially coming on the heels of a quality seven-inning start in San Francisco in his previous start. He regained command of his fastball and used it with confidence on both sides of the plate, masterfully setting up a big curve that froze hitters consistently. He held the Giants scoreless for seven innings, finally giving up a run when he tried to pitch into the eighth and left with runners on second and third and nobody out.

HOU: RHP Felipe Paulino (1-2, 5.23 ERA)
Paulino replaces Russ Ortiz, who was moved to the bullpen. Paulino was very successful in his three games as a starter this year, but not so much as a reliever. As a starter, he compiled a 2.55 ERA, allowing five earned runs over 17 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs over seven innings as a reliever, however, for a 21.00 ERA. Paulino has never faced the Rockies.

Tidbits
Troy Tulowitzki strained his left quadriceps trying to field an errant throw on Sunday. He's listed as day-to-day. ... Todd Helton enters the Astros series with 1,993 hits. ... Seth Smith has hit safely (6-for-11, .545) in all four home games he's played in during the current homestand. ... Closer Huston Street has pitched six consecutive scoreless innings and is now two saves away from 100. ... Right-handed setup man Taylor Buchholz, who hasn't pitched this season because of a strained elbow ligament, took a forward step Sunday when he joined the team in Denver for the first time this season. Working out at the team's training complex in Tucson, Ariz., he has thrown three bullpens of 30-35 pitches using just fastballs. He'll mix in his changeup in the next couple of sessions. Buchholz said there isn't a timetable, but he hopes to throw simulated games by the end of the month.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN

On radio
• KOA 850

Up next
• Wednesday: Rockies (Jason Marquis, 4-2, 3.92) vs. Astros (Mike Hampton, 1-3, 4.91), 6:40 p.m. MT
• Thursday: Rockies (Jason Hammel, 0-1, 5.40) vs. Astros (Wandy Rodriguez, 3-2, 1.80), 1:10 p.m. MT
• Friday: Rockies (Jorge De La Rosa, 0-3, 3.53) at Pirates (Paul Maholm, 3-1, 4.06), 5:05 p.m. MT

Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.