Hirsh Faces Astros

Jason Hirsh might not need to look into the opposing dugout to find motivation for his next start.

Hirsh takes the mound for the Colorado Rockies against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Coors Field, where the right-hander will oppose the team that traded him in December.

Hirsh (2-5, 5.10 ERA), was one of Houston's most highly regarded prospects, but struggled in nine late-season starts with the Astros (23-33) in 2006.

Oddsmakers have made Colorado -130 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 10 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 59% of bets for this game have been placed on Houston +120 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

He was traded with center fielder Willy Taveras to Colorado (27-30) in January as part of a five-player deal that sent pitcher Jason Jennings to Houston.

"I have a little chip on my shoulder from it," Hirsh told the Rockies' official web site. "I wasn't exactly thrilled when it happened, but it's business. It's part of the game you have to deal with, and I think I'm in a better place now."

But Hirsh hasn't pitched well recently, going 0-4 with a 6.35 ERA in seven starts since beating San Diego on April 22. The right-hander allowed eight runs and 10 hits - both season-highs - over 4 2-3 innings of an 8-4 home loss to St. Louis on Wednesday.

"The last outing was a freak thing," Hirsh said. "It happens once or twice a year to most guys. It doesn't matter if you're Roy Oswalt or you're me. Everybody has a bad day."

Colorado, though, may have momentum on its side. Trailing 8-2 entering the bottom of the sixth on Sunday, the Rockies rallied for a 10-9 victory in 10 innings behind Garrett Atkins' RBI single. Colorado has won nine of its last 12.

Taveras went 3-for-6 and is hitting .419 (18-for-43) during a nine-game hitting streak.

Wandy Rodriguez (2-5, 4.53) gets the start for Houston, and again will try to post his first road win since July 2. He is 0-6 with an 8.01 ERA in 11 road appearances since.

In his last start, the left-hander went five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits in a 4-3 home loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday - Houston's 10th straight overall.

"I started really tough, but I fought back and kept the game close to see if we could tie the game," Rodriguez told the Astros' official Web site after giving up three first-inning runs. "I made a few bad pitches and missed spots. But after that, I came back and hit my spots."

Rodriguez is 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in three career starts against Colorado. Houston, meanwhile, looks to avoid its first nine-game road losing streak since dropping 11 straight from April 16-May 8, 2005.

The Astros rallied twice, but fell 8-6 in 10 innings to St. Louis on Sunday. Houston trailed 4-1 before scoring three times in the seventh, and 5-4 before plating one in the eighth.

"It feels good to have some fire and come back in a game where we were down," said rookie center fielder Hunter Pence, who tied a career high with four hits. "But in the end, it's wins and losses, and we're not happy when we don't win."

Pence has had five straight two-hit games on the road, and is batting .465 (20-for-43) in his last 11 games overall.

Houston lost four of six to the Rockies last year, and was swept in a three-game series in Denver for the first time since 2000.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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