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.
Cuddyer remains out, DL stint possible
DENVER -- Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer missed his third consecutive start Sunday as he continues to recover from a left hamstring cramp he suffered in Thursday's win in San Diego. Three days later, Cuddyer said the injury could be classified as a strain.
"It's slow, but I'm still out there and I'm still trying to push through it," Cuddyer said of his recovery. "It feels okay. Not great, but not terrible either."
Manager Walt Weiss said Cuddyer feels "a little bit better" and was able to get some running in Sunday.
"It's pretty much the same," Cuddyer said, indicating that he wasn't seeing significant improvement yet. "I'm still available. Maybe I'd be able to go out and give an at-bat if need be."
With the possibility of the reigning National League batting champ going on the disabled list and backdating his time missed to the last game he played, his role as a pinch-hitter Sunday would likely only come up if Cuddyer has the potential to change the game with a swing of his bat, regardless of what he can do with his legs after making contact.
"I guess I'd still be trying to get on base, because then you could pinch-run for me," Cuddyer said. "But it's more doing a little bit of damage with a runner in scoring position."
The Rockies have won three straight entering play Sunday, and haven't faced a situation that finds them short-handed on the bench during Cuddyer's absence, but with a key divisional series with the Giants starting Monday, the pressure is growing to be at full strength. Cuddyer understands the decision day is looming for the Rockies to determine whether or not he needs to be placed on the DL to make room for another player.
"In the National League especially you can't afford to keep a lame duck out on the bench for very long," Cuddyer said. "I'm sure the next day or so is going to be a deciding factor."
Chacin continues rehab, makes second start at Class A
DENVER -- Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin made his second Minor League rehab start with Class A Modesto on Saturday night, falling to Lake Elsinore, the Padres' Class A affiliate, 3-1. He is recovering from a right shoulder strain.
"It sounded like it went well," manager Walt Weiss said of Chacin's outing.
Chacin pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits. All his runs came on a three-run homer. He struck out two and walked one, throwing 61 pitches -- 40 for strikes -- while earning his second loss in as many rehab starts.
"At this point with Jhoulys, it's just a matter of getting his work in, building his arm up, and being ready to walk out on a big league field and make a start," Weiss said. "He's moving toward that quickly. He's on schedule."
Chacin was 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA for the Rockies in 2013.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.