Colorado Rockies Matt Belisle warms up his arm before pitching batting practice during Spring Training in Scottsdale.
Colorado Rockies Matt Belisle warms up his arm before pitching batting practice during Spring Training in Scottsdale. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)

Sure, there have been hiccups and a couple of meltdowns, but the Rockies' bullpen has met expectations, perhaps even exceeded them, through the first 31 games.

The relievers' ERA is 2.89, good for third in the National League, behind the Braves and Giants. Opposing hitters are batting just .236 against the Rockies' bullpen.

"What I see is that nobody fears contact," said left-hander Rex Brothers. "We have taken what they told us in spring training to heart. Guys are attacking the strike zone."

Brothers, whom the Rockies would like to see close someday, has been a shutdown artist in his setupman role. He has a streak of 12 consecutive outings over 11 innings. His ERA is 0.63 in 16 appearance, and he has allowed just one run.

While new addition Wilton Lopez struggled the first two weeks, he has not allowed a run in his past six games.

"There's some good experience out there," said right-handed set-up man Matt Belisle. "There's not a bunch of guys trying to feel for it. You have guys with good arms ready to show their consistency."

Weiss, on Yankees. Growing up in upstate New York, manager Walt Weiss was raised as a Yankees fan. His first Little League team was called the Yankees. As a kid, he went to a few games at Yankee Stadium, once scooping up dirt on the warning track and storing it in a Ziploc bag.

So he admits that he's a little jazzed about the Yankees coming to town. The last time the Bronx Bombers came to Denver was in 2007, when the Rockies swept them.

"I grew up 30-35 miles from Yankee Stadium," Weiss said. "My dad was a big Yankees fan and I was, too."

Asked about managing against the Yankees, Weiss said: "I think it's always a pretty cool atmosphere when the Yankees are in town."

Coors Field was packed with Yankees fans the last time the Bombers were in town. Expect another huge turnout from New York fans.

"That's OK," Weiss said. "We'll have a lot of purple pinstripes, too."

Nelson returns. When infielder Chris Nelson returns to Coors Field with the Yankees, it's bound to be a bittersweet experience.

Just 10 days ago, Nelson was designated for assignment to clear a path for prospect Nolan Arenado. Nelson was subsequently traded to the Yankees and has played two games for his new team, going 0-for-7.

"I'm excited to see Nellie," said center fielder Dexter Fowler, who had a locker right next to Nelson's in the Rockies' clubhouse. "The Yankees were always the team he loved, and ever since he was a little kid he wanted to play for them. So that's awesome."

Footnotes. Though the Rockies are expecting large crowds for the three-game series, none of the games are sold out. ... With the return of Todd Helton, Weiss has done some more lineup juggling. On Sunday, second baseman Josh Rutledge batted eighth for the third time this season, while Arenado hit second after being in the sixth or seventh hole for his first six games. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post


NEW YORK YANKEES AT COLORADO

Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda (4-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa (2-3, 4.18), 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, ROOT; 850 AM

Lefty Jorge De La Rosa got lit up by the Dodgers in his last start, allowing six runs on 11 hits in four innings. No surprise there; De La Rosa is now 0-8 in 14 career appearances (10 starts) against the Dodgers. Last Tuesday, it looked like the Dodgers knew what was coming. De La Rosa said after the game that he was tipping his pitches and he vowed to make adjustments. After No. 1 starter Jhoulys Chacin faltered against Tampa Bay on Sunday, the Rockies really need a quality start from De La Rosa against the Yankees. He has limited experience against New York, but has fared well. In three games (two starts) he's 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 12 innings.

Upcoming Pitching Matchups

Wednesday: Yankees' David Phelps (1-1, 5.56 ERA) at Rockies' Juan Nicasio (3-0, 4.91), 6:40 p.m., ROOT

Thursday: Yankees' CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.31) at Rockies' Jeff Francis (1-2, 7.27), 1:10 p.m., ROOT

Friday: Rockies' Jon Garland (3-2, 4.75) at Cardinals' Shelby Miller (4-2, 1.96), 6:15 p.m., ROOT

Saturday: Rockies' Jhoulys Chacin (3-1, 2.56) at Cardinals' Adam Wainwright (4-2, 2.27), 12:15 p.m., ROOT

Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post