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Rotation providing consistency for Rockies

DENVER -- With the Rockies above .500 for the first time since last June, the credit has been shared by an offense firing on all cylinders and a pitching staff that has defied expectations.

Colorado starters are 6-2 at home this season, posting a 3.25 ERA as the Rockies strive to reestablish Coors Field as one of the most feared parks for opponents play in.

"The game tends to fall into place when you get starting pitching," manager Walt Weiss said Sunday. "That's the key to this game. I don't care what level you're playing at. You get good starting pitching, you're usually in good shape."

The rotation has put together a string of five quality starts in winning four of their last five. Juan Nicasio pitched six innings and allowed two earned runs Tuesday in San Diego, followed by Jorge De La Rosa's six innings and two earned runs Wednesday, Franklin Morales' six innings and one earned run Thursday, and Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Lyles both pitching seven innings without allowing an earned run Friday and Saturday at home against the Phillies.

"We had some guys step up," Weiss said, noting that Morales and Lyles were not projected for the Opening Day rotation. "We're talking about missing three of the top guys in our rotation to start the season. If you did that to any rotation in baseball, it would be a challenge. The fact that we've had guys step up and respond to the call has been really encouraging to me.

"One of those guys is the guy that threw last night, Jordan Lyles. It's really been giving us a shot in the arm."

Lyles, who came to Colorado from Houston in the Dexter Fowler trade, is off to a 3-0 start with a 3.04 ERA. He and Morales have picked up starts missed by Chatwood, Jhoulys Chacin, and Brett Anderson, and he has opened eyes after posting a 14-29 record and a 5.35 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Astros.

"The numbers I've had in the past, I don't think that was me," Lyles said. "I'm just getting off to a good start. It's a fresh start over here in Colorado. Playing with these talented players in this clubhouse is fun, it makes my job easier."

Lyles, Chatwood, and the bullpen kept the Phillies from recording a single extra-base hit in the first two games of the series, and the Rockies 19 extra-base hits allowed at Coors Field this season is the third lowest home total for National League teams this season.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to
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