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MIA@SD: Erlin fans seven in scoreless start

On Saturday, Padres starting pitcher Robbie Erlin will make his first appearance at Coors Field in Denver.

It's something that the 23-year-old left-hander has given some thought too -- but not too much thought.

"You have to balance it … the information is good and I'll definitely ask some questions [about pitching at Coors Field] and will talk to guys, but the key for me, here or anywhere, is to keep the ball down."

That's not always something pitchers both young and old -- Erlin is making his 17th Major League start -- find easy to do in the hitter-friendly environment at Coors Field, with its vast and expansive outfield.

Maybe Erlin could ask Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles, who gets the start Saturday. He knows plenty about being successful here.

Lyles is 3-0 in three starts at Coors Field with a 1.25 ERA. He has allowed three earned runs on 17 hits in 21 2/3 innings in his home ballpark. Overall, he's 5-0 with a 2.66 ERA.

Not bad for a guy who never had an ERA below 5.09 in three seasons in Houston.

"He's shown the ability to get the ground ball when he needs it. He's pitching about as good as you can pitch right now. Obviously, he's been huge for us, especially with the injuries we've had to deal with in our rotation," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss.

The Rockies have already had starting pitchers Jhoulys Chacin, Tyler Chatwood and Brett Anderson on the disabled list this season.

As for Erlin, he's aware that for some pitchers, they're breaking ball doesn't always break at Coors Field. He'll make an adjustment as needed, he said.

"I'll find out before the game [in the bullpen] and make an adjustment if I need to," he said.

The thing Erlin won't do, he said Friday, is to over think his first start at Coors Field and potentially what could go wrong. That's a slippery slope, he said.

"You can't freak out about it," he said. "If you think about it, it will only make it worse."

Padres: Looking for lineup stability
Manager Bud Black used his 43rd different starting lineup on Friday against the Rockies -- in the 43rd game of the season.

Chances are good that Black might have some more stability to work with when he sits down to pen his lineup, now that outfielders Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin and third baseman Chase Headley have returned from disabled list stints.

"In the winter, when you project your team, when [general manager Josh Byrnes] talks about the roster … this is pretty much the group we had in mind," Black said.

Quentin missed the first 39 games with a bone bruise to his left knee. Maybin missed the first 25 after he ruptured his left biceps tendon in Spring Training. Finally, Headley missed 14 games with a right calf strain.

"We feel as though when this group plays to its potential, it's a pretty solid team," Black said.

Rockies: Staying grounded
There are probably several good reasons why the Rockies are having so much success at home this season.

The Rockies, who are 14-5 at Coors Field, have a pitching staff that has done a great job keeping the ball on the ground.

Going into Friday's game, the Rockies ranked fourth in the National League with a 49.3 percent ground ball ratio and second in the league in the ratio of ground ball to fly balls (1.83).

On Friday, Jorge De La Rosa got 11 ground-ball outs, allowing one hit over seven scoreless innings.

Last season, the Rockies set a franchise record for their ration of ground balls to fly balls (1.64).

Worth noting
• Padres Minor League left-handed pitcher Max Fried faced live hitters for the first time in a game-type setting Friday in an extended spring game in Arizona. Fried, the Padres' No. 2 rated prospect according to MLB.com, reached 93-mph. Friend will make one more start in Arizona before he joins High-A Lake Elsinore of the California League.

• Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario, on the disabled list with a viral infection, will play games Friday and Saturday with Triple-A Colorado Spring before he's likely to be activated Sunday.

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