Right-hander Aaron Cook is altering his preparation between starts, hoping that throwing twice in the bullpen will help him get in sync for his next outing Friday in the opening game of an important series with the Giants at Coors Field.
Cook threw a bullpen session Tuesday at Washington and, in a departure from his regular routine, will throw again in the bullpen Wednesday.
In the first game of a doubleheader Sunday at Florida, Cook struggled and was lifted after allowing eight hits, three walks and seven runs in 2 1/3 innings. That was Cook's first start in 10 days, the extra time off allowing the inflammation in his sprained right big toe to calm down.
Cook said the toe does not bother him and was not a problem Sunday. Because he is a sinkerball pitcher, the feeling is Cook was too strong when he took the mound for the first time in 10 days, and his mechanics got out of whack because of the extra time off.
Hence, Cook's desire to throw a second bullpen session between starts.
"He wants to, and quite frankly I think it will be good for him because of the amount of time he had off prior to his last start," manager Jim Tracy said. "A sinkerball pitcher that's too strong sometimes starts throwing the ball up in the zone, and we dealt with an awful lot of that (on Sunday)."
ROCKIES 4, NATIONALS 3: The Rockies were held to six hits, but three were solo homers -- Brad Hawpe in the second, Carlos Gonzalez in the eighth with the game tied at 2 and Clint Barmes in the ninth to give the Rockies a 4-2 lead. Ubaldo Jimenez won his fourth straight start, and Huston Street set a franchise record with his 22nd consecutive save, giving up a run in the ninth and stranding runners at first and third by ending the game when Ryan Zimmerman flied out.
The Rockies have won seven straight games from the Nationals, dating to a three-game sweep in Washington on Aug. 15-17, 2008.
NOTES, QUOTES:LF Carlos Gonzalez hit leadoff Tuesday, something he had done once this season, and CF Dexter Fowler hit second for the first time this year. Gonzalez responded by going 1-for-4, hitting a home run for the career-best third consecutive game, his seventh of the season. Fowler went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
Manager Jim Tracy said he shuffled the top of his lineup because of how well Gonzalez has been doing lately and because the switch-hitting Fowler has "done the majority of his damage right-handed."
Gonzalez entered Tuesday's game hitting .388 (26-for-67) in the second half, second in the National League to St. Louis' Matt Holliday (.459). Fowler was slugging .509 batting right-handed and .371 hitting left-handed.RHP Matt Daley's streak of consecutive scoreless innings ended at 14 2/3 Sunday when he gave up two runs in the seventh inning of Game 1. Daley's streak was the longest active streak in the NL and the longest by a Rockies reliever this year. It was also the third longest by a Rockies pitcher this season, trailing streaks of 18 consecutive scoreless innings by RHP Jason Marquis from June 30-July 11 and 17 by LHP Jorge De La Rosa from June 27-July 6.
BY THE NUMBERS: 82 -- At-bats without a home run for RF Brad Hawpe, a streak that ended in the second game Sunday at Florida when he hit a two-run homer off Rick VandenHurk. Hawpe went 24 games since his last homer July 19 at San Diego.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You can only go so long pitching backward, using your breaking pitches to set up everything else. He needs to get better." -- Pitching coach Bob Apodaca, concerned about RHP Jason Hammel's lack of fastball command.
ROSTER REPORTRHP Ubaldo Jimenez is 4-0 with a 1.47 ERA in four starts this month. He has allowed 19 hits and 10 walks in that stretch, while striking out 25 in 30 2/3 innings. Jimenez has won five consecutive games over a seven-start stretch dating to July 17 at San Diego, his first start after the All-Star break. Jimenez is 5-0 with a 2.49 ERA in those seven second-half starts.
Opposing cleanup hitters are hitting just .111 (8-for-72) this season against Jimenez, who has pitched at least six innings in 21 consecutive starts.RHP Huston Street converted his 22nd consecutive save opportunity, breaking his career-best and setting a Rockies franchise record. Street, who is 30-for-31 in save opportunities this season, earned 21 consecutive saves from July 15, 2005, to April 15, 2006. LHP Brian Fuentes held the Rockies record with 21 consecutive saves from July 25, 2005, to April 27, 2006.RF Brad Hawpe, after going 85 at-bats without a home run, ended that drought with a home run Sunday at Florida. His 17th homer Tuesday gave Hawpe home runs in consecutive games for the first time this season.1B Todd Helton broke an 0-for-16 slide with a single in the sixth on Tuesday.2B Clint Barmes, who went 1-for-4 with a home run Tuesday, has seven hits on the road since July 16, going 7-for-66 (.106) in that span with six home runs.RHP Jason Hammel rejoined the team, threw fine in the bullpen and will make his scheduled start Thursday. Hammel left the team after his start Friday at Florida and went to Pittsburgh, where his brother's wife gave premature birth to twins, one of whom died. Hamel wanted to be there to comfort his brother and sister-in-law.LHP Jeff Francis threw 30 pitches in the bullpen, all fastballs, including 10 from the stretch. He's recovering well from season-ending shoulder surgery Feb. 25. If he has no setbacks, he will likely go to the instructional league in Tucson, which begins Sept. 20, where he will be able to face hitters.