Pitchers propelling Rockies lately

Pitchers propelling Rockies lately

DENVER -- The sample size is small but important. From July 5 to Monday night's opener of a four-game series with the Marlins, the Rockies posted a 2.80 ERA -- third-best in the National League.

The Rockies are trying to hold or make up ground in the NL West. After dropping some distance, mainly because of an offensive slump, the pitching is starting to matter. They went into Monday on a 4-2 run that reduced their distance from the first-place D-backs by a game, to 3 1/2, by compiling a 1.18 starter ERA -- lowest in baseball over that period. It included two wins by Juan Nicasio, one by Jhoulys Chacin and one by Tyler Chatwood, plus a strong effort in a no-decision by Jorge De La Rosa.

"It's hard to say collectively, since individually guys have their own approach, but collectively they've done really well," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It usually comes down to commanding the strike zone, no matter who you are. If you're in bad counts, you have a hard time pitching in this league."

The Marlins entered Monday with a club-record 37 straight scoreless offensive innings, but Weiss isn't taking for granted that Miami is an easy mark, especially at Coors, where offenses are known to wake up. The Marlins put up a pair of runs in the first inning.

"There was a time this year where the Marlins were one of the hottest teams in the National League for a stretch," Weiss said. "They're a young team, and if they get confidence over the course of the series, sometimes it's hard to stop that type of momentum. It's important that we execute the game.

"Most hitters look forward to coming here. There's no doubt it's a hitters' park still. There are several hitters' parks in the National League these days."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.