Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies Preview, Friday 4/15, 7:40 CT: A Taxing Series

There's no sugarcoating this or pretending -- on this day, which is normally the day tax returns are due (it's delayed to 4/18 this year because of a holiday in DC today and the weekend), the Cubs will begin their most taxing series of the early season.

The Rockies are the hottest team in baseball. They've won six in a row, including sweeping a doubleheader in New York yesterday. Troy Tulowitzki has homered in four straight games and has seven homers in the Rockies' 12 games, in which they have posted the best record in the game at 10-2. They already have a +22 run differential (the Cubs are at -8), and the Cubs have won only one game in Denver in the last two years (out of seven total), including a couple of infamous games last year where the Rockies had about 7,328 hits in a row and the next day won on a Carlos Gonzalez walkoff home run that not only went halfway to Nebraska, but completed a cycle for him.

Clearly, we are doomed.

However, this is a new and different year. The Rockies are good and it will be tough to win at all in this series. All I ask is that the Cubs play good, solid baseball and at least stay in these games.

One other baseball note to discuss today: the MLB powers that be are considering expanding replay in 2012 to cover fair/foul and trapped/caught calls. Still not enough (out/safe should be included), but better than what we have now.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Barney 2B, Byrd CF, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, Soriano LF, Colvin RF, Soto C, Garza P

Good news: Quade sticking with Castro & Barney at the top of the lineup. Bad news: Soto hitting eighth again.

Rockies lineup:

Fowler CF, Herrera 2B, Gonzalez LF, Tulowitzki SS, Helton 1B, Smith RF, Lopez 3B, Iannetta C, Chacin P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. Jhoulys Chacin
Jhoulys Chacin
Rockies
0-1 W-L 2-0
5.68 ERA 2.77
20 SO 7
3 BB 4
0 HR 0
vs. Col -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Matt Garza 0-1 2 2 0 0 0 0 12.2 20 8 8 0 3 20 5.68 1.82


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jhoulys Chacin 2-0 2 2 0 0 0 0 13.0 12 5 4 0 4 7 2.77 1.23

Well, this ought to be interesting. Both of tonight's starters have made two starts this year -- and neither has allowed a home run, yet. Jhoulys Chacin has one good start (at home vs. the Dodgers) and one mediocre one (at Pittsburgh). His only career start vs. the Cubs was on May 18, 2010 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs beat him that day.

Matt Garza has made one career start at Colorado, in interleague play on June 18, 2009. The Rockies hit three home runs off him that day -- out of the five hits he allowed. Please keep the ball down tonight, Matt.

Today's game is on WCIU -- one of six games this year on "The U". I realize many outside the Chicago area can't get this channel. It's only six games. If you have EI, it should be available there through ROOT Sports, the newly-named Denver sports channel. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Rockies site Purple Row.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7:30 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8:45 pm, 9:45 pm and 10:30 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to rain delays or extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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