Series Preview: Cubs @ Rockies (4/15 – 4/17)

Okay Rockies’ fans, the Cubs are in town.  Our Rox are off to the best start in franchise history.  They have the best record in baseball.  They just went 7-1 on the season’s first road trip. They swept four games from the Mets in New York.  Troy Tulowitzki has been playing like Superman since last September.  It is probably the most exciting April home stand in franchise history.  So can we please make sure that Rockies fans outnumber Cubs fans this weekend?

Also, if you have the privilege of attending one of this weekend’s games, please be a little hard on the Cubs’ band-wagoners.  By hard, I mean razz them in a classy, Colorado manner.  After all, this is just a game.

2011 Record: 6-6, 3rd in NL Central (2.0 GB)

2011 Record: 10-2, 1st in NL West (4 Game Lead)

Pitching Matchups

Matt Garza vs. Jhoulys Chacin. 6:40 PM MT

Casey Coleman vs. Jason Hammel. 6:10 PM MT

Ryan Dempster vs. Alan Johnson. 1:10 PM MT


A View From the Bleachers, a Cubs blog on ESPN’s Sweet Spot Network, invited me to make a contribution for their Cubs/Rockies Series Preview.  Here is what I wrote:

Who’s Hot – Since September 1st, Troy Tulowitzki has hit twenty-two homeruns in 166 at-bats.  For the mathematically challenged, that’s a dinger every 7.54 at-bats.  During this week’s four-game series, The Mets tried everything to get Tulo out, but nothing worked.  It didn’t matter if they pitched him inside or outside, he hit the ball out of the park.  Arguably, he deserves the Barry Bonds treatment right now.  New York manager, Terry Collins, was second guessed all series because he chose to pitch to Troy in several key situations and the Mets paid a heavy price.

Who’s Not – This season, the Rockies have put a lot of trust in Chris Iannetta.  Initially, he looked like a new man at the plate.  He even added a beastly Fu Manchu.  However, Iannetta went on a 0-14 streak and his batting average is now below .200.  Fortunately, he’s done a terrific job of handling the Rockies’ pitching staff.  As long as players like Seth Smith and Todd Helton are contributing, the Rockies don’t need Iannetta to be an offensive force.

Interesting note:

Troy Tulowitzki is the best shortstop in baseball, but his taste in music is atrocious.  This year, Tulo’s initial pick for his walk-up song was Katy Perry’s “Firework” – much to my chagrin.  After an 0-8 start at the plate, he switched to Justin Beiber’s “Baby”.  Not that his current selection is any better than “Firework”, but he has been on a Babe Ruth-esque tear since making the change.

On Monday night, the Mets inadvertently played “Baby” just prior to Tulo’s eighth inning at-bat.  He promptly hit a two-run game-winning homerun.

I can proudly say that I’ve never listened to a track by that rich little punk, and when it comes to Canadian imports, I much prefer Strange Brew and Steve Nash.  However, if Tulo stays on pace to hit 80 homeruns this season, you can count me among those afflicted with Beiber Fever.

Prediction:

My prediction?

I turn, look into the camera, and, in my best Mister T voice, say……Pain!

Pardon me for stealing from the great Clubber Lang, but I wouldn’t want to be the Cubs right now.  The Rockies are a focused baseball team with the best record in baseball – at least as of Thursday afternoon.  They are off the best start in franchise history. Incredibly, they’ve achieved most of their success on the road and without Ubaldo.

Obviously, the Rox are very hard to beat at Coors Field, but they’ve been particularly tough on the Cubs.  The Northsiders have lost nine of the last eleven contests in Denver.  I think that trend will continue with the Rockies taking two out of three in this series.

Aside from Jhoulys Chacin, the Rockies don’t have their best pitchers going this weekend.   Jason Hammel has struggled with command and Alan Johnson was just called up from AAA to make a spot start on Sunday.  However, it hasn’t mattered who’s on the mound for the Rox lately.  This team is just clicking.

Make sure to head over to View From the Bleachers at 2 PM MT for the remainder of the article.  Thanks to Joe Aeillo at VFTB for kindly soliciting my contribution.

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Topics: Alan Johnson, Chicago Cubs, Chris Iannetta, Clubber Lang, Colorado Rockies, Cubs-Rockies Series Preview, Jason Hammel, Jhoulys Chacin, Justin Beiber, Katy Perry, Matt Garza, Seth Smith, Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki

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