The Colorado Rockies knew they would be short-handed for a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park that started Monday. All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado is serving the final three games of a five-game suspension for his part in a benches-clearing fight last week.
The Pirates found out Monday they would be without a regular, too. Second baseman Josh Harrison, who got hit with a pitch Sunday, was diagnosed with a broken bone in his left hand and put on the disabled 10-day list.
Unlike Arenado, whose return is set for Friday, Harrison is expected to be out longer term. The Pirates are expecting him to not only miss this series, which continues Tuesday, but also another month-plus.
“We’ve got men to man second base,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, rattling off the names of Sean Rodriguez, Adam Frazier and Max Morov, the last of whom was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Frazier, when in the lineup, also will replace Harrison as the leadoff man. That’s where Frazier was Monday, and where he could be Tuesday.
Pittsburgh (11-5) had its two-game winning streak stopped in the opener, 6-2. Colorado (10-8) has won two in a row and five of six.
Although Pittsburgh leads the National League Central, it has been better on the road (7-2) than at home (4-3). Following this three-game series, the Pirates head back on the road.
Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis (2-0, 2.04 ERA) is scheduled to face Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams (3-0, 1.56 ERA) Tuesday.
The expected starters for each club have gotten off to strong starts.
Bettis will be making his fourth start, his third on the road. Thursday at Washington, Bettis gave up just one run, on a solo homer, and three hits in seven innings.
He has become a pitcher who relies on strategy and location.
“That’s kind of how I pitch. I don’t have the 95 or 97 (mph) fastball anymore, so you have to work around that,” Bettis told the Denver Post. “Command is a big part of my game.”
He’s also benefiting from a good fit with catcher Chris Iannetta.
“I really like when Chris is back there, because he’s so confident with pitch selection and pitch calling,” Bettis told the Post. “Chris is always prepared. Always.”
Bettis has made six appearances, including four starts, against Pittsburgh, going 0-2 with a 6.26 ERA.
Williams also will be making his fourth start. He has won three straight decisions for the first time in his career.
Most recently, he gave up one run and four hits in six innings, with one walk and five strikeouts in a win over the Cubs.
“It’s all coming together,” Williams said. “Once the starts kind of get rolling and you get into that rhythm, as a staff and as a team really we’re falling into our rhythm. We had a really great feeling coming out of spring training and it’s been showing, that we’re playing really good baseball.”
He has allowed just one home run in 17 1/3 innings, but Colorado will likely challenge him in that category. The Rockies lead the NL with 26 homers and have hit at least one in seven of their past eight games, a total of 14 in that stretch.
Against the Rockies, Williams is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in one career start, last July.
In addition to putting Harrison on the 10-day disabled list and recalling Moroff, Pittsburgh optioned right-handed reliever Dovydas Neverauskas to Triple-A Indianapolis to make way for left-handed reliever Enny Romero, who officially joined the club after being claimed off waivers from Washington.