Rockies looking to break through vs. Cueto

Rockies looking to break through vs. Cueto

The Rockies will have their hands full Sunday against the Giants, facing a pitcher they've historically had trouble against in Johnny Cueto. The right-hander comes into Colorado with an 18 1/3-inning scoreless streak against the team.

Cueto nearly went the distance earlier this year against the Rockies, throwing 8 1/3 scoreless innings and surrendering eight hits and one walk while striking out three. Last season, he threw eight shutout innings vs. Colorado while pitching for the Reds, allowing four hits and one walk with five strikeouts.

Cueto is on pace for his fifth season with an ERA below 3.00 in six years, enjoying his first campaign in San Francisco. He has done a great job of keeping the ball in the park with a miniscule 3.7 percent home run per fly ball rate, currently second-best among qualified pitchers.

Things to know about this game

• Despite Cueto's success against Colorado, several Rockies have hit him well. Carlos Gonzalez (6-for-20), Gerardo Parra (11-for-32) and Charlie Blackmon (5-for-16), who has a 23-game on-base streak, all are hitting .300 or better against the right-hander.

• With the Rockies getting to the San Francisco bullpen early in the series, the Giants will need Cueto to eat up a lot of innings. Cueto is second in the NL behind teammate Jeff Samardzija with 107.2 pitches per game and is averaging 7.5 innings per start, only dipping below seven innings once this season.

• Colorado starter Chris Rusin has been very strong this season with a 3.93 ERA and solid peripherals of 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.7 walks per nine innings, but his worst start of the season was against the Giants. He allowed seven runs over 4 1/3 innings on a May 5 start in San Francisco.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.