While Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa prepares to face the D-backs for the fourth time already this season, D-backs top prospect Tyler Skaggs will take the mound Friday for just his fourth start in 2013 as the clubs open a three-game set in Arizona.
De La Rosa will look to continue his impressive pitching of late as the Rockies open a 10-game road trip that will lead them into the All-Star break.
Arizona will counter with Skaggs, who is expected to be recalled prior to Friday's game for his third stint with the D-backs this year. He tossed six scoreless innings in his season debut on May 27 after being called up as the club's 26th man to start a doubleheader game against the Rangers. He didn't fare nearly as well in a pair of June starts following his second callup, allowing five runs in each outing while pitching just 10 2/3 combined innings.
Ranked the D-backs' No. 1 overall prospect, Skaggs has pitched well since returning to the Minors, including throwing 8 1/3 scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts in his last start with Triple-A Reno.
"He'll have a better idea of what he's up against," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We're going to play a good Colorado team, and they're going to score a lot of runs, so he's going to have to make good pitches on them. Hopefully he has an understanding of that and is able to execute."
As for De La Rosa, he should have a very good understanding of Arizona's hitters by now. He made back-to-back starts against the D-backs in late April and faced them again May 22. In those three outings, he is 2-1 with a 1.56 ERA.
The biggest concern surrounding De La Rosa, however, continues to be his health. After being limited to three starts last season due to a lengthy recovery from Tommy John surgery in June 2011, De La Rosa had two starts derailed last month by a cut on his middle finger. More recently, he left his Saturday start early with a bruised left thumb, an injury that has lingered for his last three outings.
"It's popped up here a few times in a row, so we'll keep an eye on it," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It's funny because in between starts it seems to be fine, then once he starts warming up in the bullpen is when he starts to feel it again and we're going inning to inning with him during the game."
Through it all, De La Rosa carries an 8-4 record to go along with a 3.09 ERA and has turned in three consecutive quality starts while dealing with the thumb injury.
"Georgie's got great stuff and I think his secondary stuff has been the key," Weiss said. "He's been able to back-door the slider to right-handed hitters, his changeup has been really good to either get outs or get him back in counts."
Rockies: CarGo nursing back strain
Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez strained his back on a swing-and-miss in the fifth inning of a 9-5 victory over the Dodgers at Coors Field Thursday night but said he expects to return to the lineup Friday.
"He said he's done it before," Weiss said. "So we're not too concerned. But it was enough of an issue to get him out of there. So there is some concern."
The Rockies slugger, who exited Thursday's game in the sixth inning, leads the National League with 23 home runs and was 1-for-3 with an RBI double in the first before he left the game.
D-backs: Bloomquist to have CT scan on wrist
Shortstop Willie Bloomquist is scheduled to undergo a CT scan on his injured left wrist when the D-backs return home following Thursday's 15-inning 5-4 victory over the Mets.
Bloomquist suffered the injury when he was hit on the hand by a pitch on June 26, and though initial X-rays were negative, he has been unable to play since. The club placed him on the disabled list Wednesday and he will now have the injury examined by hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan.
"Just more to rule out everything," Bloomquist said. "It's still very sore. I think we all just want to make sure it's nothing more."
• De La Rosa is 8-4 with a 2.25 ERA in 19 appearances (15 starts) against the D-backs, the team that initially signed him as an amateur free agent in 1998.
• D-backs slugger Paul Goldschmidt is just 1-for-8 in his career against De La Rosa, with all eight at-bats coming this season. The one hit was a two-run homer on April 25.