Rockies-Cubs Preview

Troy Tulowitzki didn’t have much trouble at the plate against
the Chicago Cubs last weekend at Coors Field.

It could be a different story when the Colorado Rockies visit
Wrigley Field.

Tulowitzki hopes to shake his struggles on Chicago’s North Side
in Monday night’s series opener against the Cubs.

The Rockies (14-7) took two of three from Chicago in Denver from
April 15-17, as catcher Chris Iannetta led Colorado’s offense with
five RBIs.

Tulowitzki didn’t drive in any runs in that series, but went 4
for 11 with a triple and scored twice. The All-Star shortstop was 1
for 3 on April 15 against Matt Garza (0-2, 4.74 ERA), Chicago’s
scheduled starter Monday.

Tulowitzki, who drove in his team-leading 16th run in Sunday’s
6-3 loss to Florida, hasn’t had much luck at Wrigley, batting .162
with a homer and 13 strikeouts in nine games there. It’s his lowest
batting average at any current NL park.

Unsurprisingly given Tulowitzki’s struggles, the Rockies haven’t
enjoyed much success lately at Wrigley, losing 11 of their last 12
games there.

The Cubs (10-11) have dropped three of their last four at home,
though, including a 7-3 defeat to Los Angeles on Sunday. Batting
third, shortstop Starlin Castro went hitless for just the third
time in 15 games.

Castro, who went 7 for 13 with a homer and four RBIs in Colorado
earlier this month, is 2 for 12 as the No. 3 hitter, compared to a
.500 average when batting out of the leadoff spot.

“If I mix and match the first three guys, I don’t care where
(they hit),” manager Mike Quade told the Cubs’ official
website.

Quade now hopes Garza can finally earn his first victory as a
Cub.

The offseason acquisition from Tampa Bay allowed six hits and
struck out nine over six shutout innings of a 2-1, 11-inning win
over San Diego on Wednesday in the second game of a doubleheader.
The Cubs had lost Garza’s first three starts.

“(Personal) wins don’t matter,” said Garza, who won a
career-best 15 games last season with the Rays. “If I don’t win a
game all year, but we win my games it doesn’t bother me one
bit.”

Garza didn’t give the Cubs a good chance to win in his last
start at Coors Field, yielding five runs and seven hits in six
innings of a 5-0 loss. The right-hander, who leads the majors with
an average of 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings, struck out five
Rockies.

Garza posted a similar line in his other career start versus the
Rockies – a 4-3 Rays loss at Coors on June 18, 2009, in which he
yielded four runs over five innings.

Iannetta, who had a three-run triple off Garza at Coors Field,
has sat out the last two games for the Rockies but may return to
the starting lineup Monday to catch Esmil Rogers (2-1, 6.75).

After winning his first two starts of the season on the road,
Rogers was tagged for eight runs and six hits – including three
homers – in three innings of an 8-1 home loss to San Francisco on
Monday. The right-hander had not yielded a home run in his previous
nine starts.

Rogers has never faced the Cubs.