The Colorado Rockies return to Coors Field on Friday for a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs, but this current Rockies team is different than ones in previous Aprils. At 10-2, the Rockies have the best record in baseball and have done it by going 7-1 on their first road trip of the 2011 season. Naturally, the Rockies and their fans should be excited about what this team can do, but a little bit of cautious optimism should be used right now. Entire baseball seasons are not settled in the first 12 games of the season.
The Cubs (6-6, 3-3 road) just took two of three from the Houston Astros on the road. Against teams the Rockies have played this season, the Cubs are 1-2 against the Pirates and 2-3 against the Diamondbacks. Their 21-year-old shortstop, Starlin Castro, leads the team with a .389 batting average and a .911 OPS. Left fielder Alfonso Soriano has four home runs and 10 RBI. Their second baseman, Darwin Barney, is the equivalent of the Rockies' Jonathan Herrera--not quite the standard at the position, but gets the most out his abilities.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series:
Friday, April 15, 6:40 p.m. MT: Matt Garza vs. Jhoulys Chacin
Saturday, April 16, 6:10 p.m. MT: Casey Coleman vs. Jason Hammel
Sunday, April 17, 1:10 p.m. MT: Ryan Dempster vs. Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson will make his big league debut on Sunday because the doubleheader threw off the rotation. Aaron Cook was moved to the 60-day DL to open a space on the 40-man roster. Johnson was once infamously (at least to Purple Row) included by Woody Paige as part of a trio of minor league pitchers to get Roy Halladay in a Rockies uniform two years ago.
As it stands, the Rockies just keeping looking for wins. Coors Field should play well for them this weekend.