Daley, Peralta turning heads in bullpen

Daley, Peralta turning heads in bullpen

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed relievers Matt Daley and Joel Peralta have quickly caught the eye of manager Jim Tracy.

Now they'll have to pitch well to maintain his attention, since both are likely to be part of the equation as the club makes due without Manuel Corpas, who went to the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with a bone chip problem in his right elbow.

Daley and Peralta began the season at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Daley caught the Rockies' eye during Spring Training and is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in 14 appearances, most of which have been good. Peralta, who has a 1.86 ERA in nine games, had pitched in the Majors for the Angels (2005) and Royals (2006-08).

Either or both could come into play on Sunday as the Rockies complete a three-game series with the Pirates at Coors Field.

They are valuable against right-handed hitters. Going into Saturday, they had held such batters to twin .167 averages, 4-for-24 for Daley and 3-for-18 for Peralta.

Tracy has come to enjoy both. He recalled having "goosebumps" after hearing Daley tell then-manager Clint Hurdle and other staff members the he knew he had "what it takes to get hitters out at this level." This was when the Rockies sent him to Triple-A Colorado Springs to start the year. Daley has proven himself right.

"He's not going to be afraid of the bat," Tracy said. "He has an innate ability to pitch to the rectangle. He can identify strengths and weaknesses and pitch to them accordingly."

The rectangles Tracy was referring to exist in scouting reports, as they break the strike zone into small rectangles so teams can pinpoint the locations in which a hitter can and can not be effective.

Tracy said he talked to former Rockies and Royals manager Buddy Bell and former Royals bench coach and manager Bill Doran, who now works in the Reds' Minor League system, about Peralta. They felt he could be effective if used to his strength.

"Joel has grown on me, big time," Tracy said. "He's got a lot of courage, like Matt Daley. He's another guy who's not afraid of attacking the bat.

"I heard a lot of very positive things about how productive he could be if you're mindful of when you're using him and who you're using him against and how much you're using him."

Despite not having Taylor Buchholz all season -- he ended rehab and had Tommy John ligament transfer surgery on Wednesday -- missing Ryan Speier (hamstring and shoulder problems) most of the year and now being without Corpas, the Rockies have a chance to maintain a strong bullpen.

In addition to the surprise effectiveness of Daley and Peralta, the Rockies have veteran left-handers in Alan Embree and Randy Flores to handle tough lefty batters, and on Saturday added veteran righty Juan Rincon, who had pitched well at Colorado Springs after struggling early in the season with the Tigers.

Pitching matchup
COL: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (2-7, 5.81 ERA)
After picking up his first wins of the season in consecutive starts to begin June, De La Rosa took a major step backward in his last outing. He gave up seven runs to the Rays in 2 1/3 innings, his shortest effort of 2009. De La Rosa had trouble with his command, leaving the ball up and over the middle of the plate, a dangerous way to pitch at Coors Field. The Rays pounced for five extra-base hits. De La Rosa pitched a gem at Pittsburgh on May 15, striking out 10 and walking none in seven innings of one-run ball. He owns a 3.66 ERA in seven career appearances (19 2/3 innings) against the Pirates.

PIT: LHP Paul Maholm (4-3, 4.23 ERA)
Maholm was rocked for eight runs on 14 hits in five innings in his most recent start. Despite getting ahead of each of the first nine hitters he faced, the lefty had problems getting the ball down consistently, which the Twins took advantage of. Maholm's results have been to both extremes this season. He's now allowed seven or more runs in three starts, but has allowed one or fewer six different times. Maholm pitched seven scoreless innings against the Rockies earlier this season. He is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in four career starts against Colorado.

Righty Jason Hammel left the bases loaded to start the seventh. All runners scored and the Rockies fell behind. But Hammel didn't lose because of his team's comeback, so he still has won his last four decisions. Hammel gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings pitched. ... Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez started slowly since being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs and is hitting .220, but he has hit safely in three of his last four games. ... The Rockies are 8-1 in games in which Todd Helton homers.

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Up next
• Monday: Rockies (Aaron Cook, 6-3, 4.23) at Angels (Matt Palmer, 6-0, 4.13), 8:05 p.m. MT
• Tuesday: Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez, 6-6, 3.73) at Angels (Ervin Santana, 1-3, 7.47), 8:05 p.m. MT
• Wednesday: Rockies (Jason Marquis, 9-4, 3.71) at Angels (Joe Saunders, 7-4, 3.80), 8:05 p.m. MT

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.