Cubs-Rockies Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 25, 2012
With the way things have played out, both the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies have had to revisit their goals. They're not particularly glamorous. In a matchup featuring two teams trying to avoid 100-loss seasons, the Cubs and Rockies open a three-game set Tuesday night at Coors Field. Chicago and Colorado enter play with identical 59-94 records, needing to win four of their final nine games to avoid reaching triple digits in defeats. The Cubs appeared to be in good shape of fulfilling this goal just over a week ago, but they arrive in Denver losers of six of seven. "We're having a losing season, but it can be worse if we get over 100 losses," Alfonso Soriano told the Cubs' official website after Sunday's 6-3 defeat to St. Louis. "We want to just keep fighting and not get to 100 losses because 100 losses is too much." Chicago also needs to win just once more to avoid matching the franchise record of 103 losses, set most recently in 1966. Things aren't looking as promising for Colorado, which will match its club record of losses, set most recently in 2005, with one more defeat. The Rockies avoided the inevitable Monday, defeating Arizona 4-2, snapping a season-high nine-game losing streak. They've still lost 16 of 19, and haven't won two in a row since Sept. 1 and 2. Former Cub Tyler Colvin had two hits and an RBI Monday, and is batting .400 with 19 RBIs in his last 15 home games. "We can hit, and we've done it all year," manager Jim Tracy said. "Now, we get the other parts squared away the way we want, we can build on it.'' That means getting scheduled starter Jorge De La Rosa (0-1, 12.27 ERA) pitching like he did in 2009, when he won 16 games. In making his first start since May 24, 2011, when he left an outing with elbow soreness and later underwent Tommy John surgery, De La Rosa had a rough season debut against San Francisco on Thursday, allowing six runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings of a 9-2 loss. Despite the brutal stat line, his manager was encouraged by the outing. "After 16 months I'm very pleased with what I saw from our starting pitcher,'' Tracy said. "The left-handed pitcher who showed he's getting himself back to the guy he can be, and then some.'' De La Rosa regularly gave the Cubs problems before his injury, posting a 2.11 ERA in winning his three career starts. Soriano is 2 for 13 with a homer against De La Rosa. Despite Chicago's troubles, Soriano is enjoying an impressive season, hitting 31 homers and driving in a career-best 105 runs. In 17 games at Coors, he is batting .355 - his highest average at any ballpark he has played more than three games. "He's done one heck of a job - left field, at the plate and everything about this season has been one of his best,'' manager Dale Sveum said. In the opener, Sveum will give the ball to Chris Rusin (1-2, 6.00), who has been hit-or-miss in his first five major league starts. The rookie lefty has a 2.40 ERA in three of his starts, but a 15.00 ERA with a .545 opponent batting average in the other two. He's coming off one of those subpar outings, yielding five runs and 10 hits over five innings in Wednesday's 6-5, 11-inning loss to Cincinnati.
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