D-backs lefty Wade Miley is a strong candidate for National League Rookie of the Year with his 16-11 record and 3.32 ERA, but he's struggled in his last two starts and wants to end his season on a positive note.
The Rockies' Drew Pomeranz has battled through a disappointing season, as his 2-9 record and 5.01 ERA attest, but he is coming off a strong performance in his last outing, and would like nothing better than to go into the offseason with a confidence-enhancing finish.
Miley has had an impressive rookie season no matter what happens on Monday, but he's not happy with a 7.20 ERA in his last two starts.
"Trying to be too fine," Miley said of his recent performances. "I've kind of gone back to how it was when I first got called up last year, like I've got to make a perfect pitch here, and a perfect pitch here, and suddenly you're down 2-0 and you've got to throw a fastball, and they're looking for it. I kind of got caught up doing that. Just a lot of thoughts running through my mind."
Miley lasted four innings against the Giants on Wednesday, giving up six hits and four runs, three of them earned, in a 6-0 loss.
"I want to just go out and compete, and hope for the best and not put too much thought into [the game]," Miley said, looking ahead to Monday's final start of the season. "I think that's what's gotten me into trouble lately, thinking a little too much. I just have to clear my mind and go out and compete like I did the first 25 starts."
In his last start on Wednesday, Pomeranz held the Cubs scoreless for five innings to earn his first win since July 6.
It had been a long time since Pomeranz (2-9) had shown the form that made him the fifth overall pick in 2010 by the Indians, who sent him to the Rockies as part of the package for right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez last summer.
He had gone 13 winless starts since pitching 6 1/3 innings of one-hit ball to beat the Nationals just before the All-Star break.
A five-inning stint against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 24 was the only time in his last 10 starts he had lasted five innings.
"The big thing was just being relaxed," Pomeranz said. "I'd get too tense, and that's never a good thing with most things, hitting or pitching. That helped my pitches a lot."
With Rockies pitchers under a tight pitch count for much of the year, the lack of consistent strikes cost him in several starts.
On Wednesday, Rockies manager Jim Tracy made it a point to have pitching coach Bo McLaughlin tell Pomeranz he was going to give him a chance at the win.
"I didn't know, but I had a pretty good fourth inning, and I think that's why they let me go a little bit longer this time," Pomeranz said. "Probably one of my best innings was the fourth."
"The biggest thing is building on that, knowing what I did today and try to build on that," he said.
"He threw strikes," Tracy said. "He threw strikes down in the zone. He threw strike one, and as a result of throwing strike one and sending that message, he got himself a couple of first-pitch outs."
Rockies: Emergency-summoned Ortega delivers
• Rafael Ortega was playing in the Arizona Instructional League when the Rockies found themselves down to one healthy reserve on Saturday, and put in a call summoning him to the Majors.
Ortega started in center field and was 2-for-3 with a stolen base in Sunday's 7-1 loss to the Dodgers.
D-backs: Hill climbs hit list
• Second baseman Aaron Hill went 1-for-3 in Sunday's loss to the Cubs to move into fifth place on the team's single-season hits list with 180.
Hill is hitting .304.
Luis Gonzalez in 1999 (206), 2000 (192) and 2001 (198) and Matt Williams in 1999 (190) had seasons with more hits than Hill.
• Miley is tied with former Rockie Jason Jennings, who won 16 games as Rookie of the Year in 2002, for the most wins by an NL rookie since 1986.