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Top Prospects: Tyler Matzek, LHP, Rockies

Another day, another Rockies pitching debut for the Braves to contend with.

On Monday it was right-hander Christian Bergman. The Braves only got to Bergman for two runs over six innings, but it was enough to secure a series-opening win. On Wednesday they'll be welcoming left-hander Tyler Matzek to the Majors.

Matzek's road has been a winding one since the Rockies selected him 11th overall in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, but manager Walt Weiss believes he's ready.

"He's fought through some things [and] he's come out on the other side," said Weiss. "He's a guy that has never really gotten hit hard. He was able to avoid the barrel of the bat. There's some deception to him."

Matzek will be called up to take the place of right-hander Eddie Butler (inflammation in right rotator cuff) in the rotation, six days after Butler made his own Major League debut, against the Dodgers.

Matzek battled control issues in the Minors and didn't get above Class A until 2013. He credits pitching coach Daryl Scott, who worked with him in both Class A and Double-A, for helping him get over the hump.

"I used to be a big-time thinker," said Matzek. "He really simplified things for me. He helped me get back to just going out and competing; just going out there and throwing the ball."

In 12 starts (66 2/3 innings) with Triple-A Colorado Springs, Matzek registered 61 strikeouts, but his home and away splits loom ominous: Over 29 1/3 innings at home, he allowed 22 earned runs, compared with eight earned over 37 1/3 innings on the road.

The Rockies are the first team to have three starters make their debuts in the span of six days or fewer since Ed Vosberg, Ray Hayward and Jimmy Jones came up with the Padres in a five-day span in September 1986, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Braves: Teheran back to where it all began
Right-hander Julio Teheran, who starts on Wednesday, isn't afraid of his Major League-best 1.89 ERA inflating in the altitude of Coors Field; he's more concerned with bottling that Mile High Magic.

Teheran made the fourth start of his Major League career last April 23 in Coors Field, going seven innings and allowing one earned run. Including and since that start, Teheran has a 2.39 ERA, second only to Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw among pitchers who have made at least 35 starts in that span.

Catcher Gerald Laird was behind the plate for that game against the Rockies, and he remembers Coors Field as the place where everything "clicked" for Teheran.

"He had all four of his pitches working, and he mixed it up real well," said Laird. "You could just see him getting more confident as the game went on. I think that's where he kind of settled in and started thinking he could be the guy up here."

Rockies: Weiss not making injury excuses
When third baseman Nolan Arenado fractured his left index finger on May 23, it wasn't just a devastating blow to the Rockies, it was the start of something bigger.

Since then the Rockies have lost two All-Star outfielders (Carlos Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer), two starting pitchers (Jordan Lyles and Butler) and a reliever (Boone Logan) to the injury bug.

But Weiss feels this creates opportunities, not excuses.

"These are opportunities for guys to perform," he said. "That's how you've got to look at it. We've been hit hard here, lately especially, but I always remind these guys that there's never a reason not to play hard in this game."

Outfielder Drew Stubbs and Corey Dickerson have been the biggest beneficiaries of the excess playing time created, but the lineup has been noticeably less intimidating during this homestand.

After averaging 6.5 runs per game at home in May, the Rockies have scored two runs or fewer in half of their eight June games at Coors Field. Weiss contests that it's just part of the natural ebb and flow of baseball.

"Guys get hot, guys get cold," he said. "Hopefully, we can get several of them on a roll at the same time. That's just not the case right now. But I don't see much of a change in their approach."

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