The Boston Red Sox may be trying to close the gap for homefield advantage in the playoffs Wednesday night at Coors Field, but the host Colorado Rockies will be celebrating the closing of a career.
Rockies first baseman Todd Helton holds team records in nearly every offensive category, including batting average, hits, home runs and RBI. Helton will retire at season's end after 17 years of service, all with the Rockies, and will be honored with bobbleheads given to the first 35,000 fans Wednesday in his final game in front of the home crowd.
Helton announced his retirement earlier this month.
"The fans of Colorado, I'd like to thank them. I'd like to think that I've been the model of consistency, but ya'll have been the model of consistency for me," Helton said.
Rockies owner and chief executive officer Dick Monfort expressed his appreciation of Helton in a statement.
"For seventeen years number '17' has been the icon of Colorado Rockies baseball," Monfort said. "Todd will be missed and our hope is he will be a part of our Colorado baseball family for many more years to come. Thanks Todd!"
The Rockies handed the Red Sox an 8-3 loss in Tuesday's opener of this short two-game series, as Helton finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. Charlie Blackmon, Troy Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson all homered, while DJ LeMahieu and Michael Cuddyer ended with two RBI apiece.
Cuddyer (.335) is closing in on a National League batting title.
Rockies starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood was tagged for just one unearned run and three hits in seven innings for the win.
"Give a lot of credit to Chatty for the improvement, the strides he's made. Pretty incredible, how far he's come," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Colorado is 4-4 on a nine-game homestand and 45-35 at Coors Field. The club will close the season with three games at Los Angeles this weekend.
Jhoulys Chacin tries to pitch the Rockies to a short sweep of Boston when he toes the rubber Wednesday and is coming off a 9-4 win Friday versus Arizona. The right-hander lasted six innings in that one, allowing two runs and walking five, and improved to 14-9 in 30 starts with a 3.21 earned run average.
Chacin has a 9-4 mark in 17 home starts and won his only career start against the Red Sox on June 22, 2010, when he delivered 6 2/3 shutout innings of a 2-1 victory at Coors Field.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox are still a game ahead of the Oakland Athletics for homefield advantage throughout the AL postseason and had won three of four games before Tuesday's loss.
Red Sox starter John Lackey was dealt the loss for giving up four runs and six hits, including three home runs, in six innings.
"I thought John made a couple of mistakes he had to pay for, particularly in a ballpark where you put the ball in the air, it's going to carry," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Brandon Workman allowed three runs in relief and Jarrod Saltalamacchia belted a two-run homer for AL East-champion Boston, which was outhit 11-7.
Jake Peavy aims to pitch Boston closer to homefield advantage when he gets the nod Wednesday. Peavy is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA in nine starts with the Red Sox since coming over via trade with the Chicago White Sox and is 2-0 in his past six trips to the hill. He has posted three straight no-decisions and was reached for three runs in seven innings of a 5-3 loss to Baltimore last Wednesday.
Peavy, who went 8-4 in 13 starts with the White Sox before the trade, has surrendered at least three runs in three straight starts (10 runs total). The right-hander and 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner has faced Colorado many times from his days with the San Diego Padres and owns a 4-6 mark in 18 career starts to go along with a 3.92 ERA.
Boston swept a two-game set versus Colorado at Fenway Park from June 25-26.