The Rockies go into the second half with a 40-55 record. They are 13 games behind and a half game out of last place in the National League West. But they have hope for improvement as some of their injured players have recently returned, notably third baseman Nolan Arenado and right fielder Carlos Gonzalez. They lengthen the lineup and both are superb defensive players.

But the Rockies are going to have to get better starting pitching to make any significant strides. They used 13 starters in the first half and will come out of the break with a rotation composed of left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, left-hander Brett Anderson, left-hander Tyler Matzek, left-hander Franklin Morales and Eddie Butler.

Matzek and Butler are rookies, with Butler scheduled to make a second and final rehab start as he recovers from an inflamed shoulder. Both are on the steep portion of the major league learning curve. Anderson missed three months due to a fractured left index finger before returning Sunday and understandably showing his rust when the Minnesota Twins had five straight hits, seven in all, and five runs in the first inning, although he made it through the fifth and allowed just one more unearned run.

Morales is a swing man who has made 13 starts and nine relief appearances this season and has a 5.26 ERA with 18 homers allowed in 87 1/3 innings. He seems better suited for the bullpen but will have to make at least three starts after the break until Jordan Lyles is ready to return.

The Rockies had targeted Lyles' return from a broken left (non-pitching) hand -- he was injured June 4 -- on July 28. But on Sunday, they moved him to the 60-day disabled list because the latest X-ray showed the bone was healing as fast as hoped. This procedural move won't cause Lyles a lot of time but will delay his return to the Rockies rotation until at least Aug. 5. And given his lengthy layoff, Lyles is likely to be rusty.

The Rockies' almost frantic search for pitching led them to sign retread starters such as Brett Tomko, 41, and Chris Capuano, 35, both pitching at Triple-A Colorado Springs. They seem like the latest attempts to stop time by the Rockies, who brought back Roy Oswalt last year and Jamie Moyer in 2012 with little success.

If the Rockies are lucky, a prospect like Jon Gray, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, might make enough progress at Double-A Tulsa to warrant being called up in September. But right now, he's far from ready for the big leagues.

The Rockies typically struggle on the road, and this season is no different, albeit a little worse with a 16-30 record. But for the Rockies to have any chance to succeed, they most dominate at Coors Field. They dropped two of three games to the Twins before the All-Star break to fall to 24-25 at home. Worse, the Rockies have lost 18 of their past 26 games at Coors Field. And their remaining schedule includes 35 games on the road and 32 at home.

"Our depth certainly got challenged, particularly on the mound," manager Walt Weiss said. "But we are where we are. It's real important we play well right away in the second half."

Everyone thinks we're going to put together a run at some point," Weiss said. "But, obviously, the clock is ticking. We need to do it now, as we speak."