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Pitching will be key in D-backs-Rockies series

The Arizona Diamondbacks host the Colorado Rockies for a three-game series this week and will hope for a good showing against their NL West rivals.

The Rockies lead the division with a 17-9 overall record and a staggering 10-3 road record so far this season.

The Diamondbacks are five-and-a-half games back with a 12-15 record and will need to rely on strong outings from the back end of their pitching rotation to hold up against Colorado.

The first game Tuesday will feature a battle of left-handed pitchers between the D-backs’ Joe Saunders and Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa.

De La Rosa has been dominant lately with a 2.61 ERA in 31 innings pitched. He is 4-0 with only nine earned runs and 10 walks with 29 strikeouts.

Saunders has struggled lately after giving up six runs and two home runs in just over five innings against the Phillies last week. He has yet to pitch more than seven innings this season and heads into the Rockies series with a 5.93 ERA.

The second match-up features Barry Enright against Jhoulys Chacin, who struggles while pitching in away games.

So far this season, Chacin has a 6.55 ERA with eight earned runs and five walks away from Colorado. However, he has a 3-2 overall record with a 2.91 ERA and nine walks with 26 strikeouts so far this season.

Enright has a 1-2 record with a 5.76 ERA in 2011. Over 29.2 innings, he has given up 19 earned runs and 11 walks with 18 strikeouts. He got his first win of the season in his last outing.

Finally, Thursday’s game will feature Armando Galarraga on the mound for Arizona and Jason Hammel for Colorado.

Galarraga started off the season 3-0, but has lost his last two games. He has a 5.46 ERA over 28 innings and has given up 17 earned runs.

Hammel has a 3-1 record this year with a 3.23 ERA. He has given up 11 earned runs and eight walks with 18 strikeouts.

The Diamondbacks will hope to rebound from a 1-2 record against the Cubs last week to make up some ground against the Rockies in the west.