Giants-Rockies Preview

Colorado hitters have had little success against San Francisco’s

talented pitching staff this week. Facing Matt Cain in the series

finale won’t make things any easier.

The NL West-leading Rockies will likely need some rare success

against Cain on Wednesday to avoid being swept at home by the

surging Giants for the first time in nine years.

Colorado (12-5) has been outscored 14-4 by San Francisco while

losing two straight for the first time in 2011. After Tim Lincecum

and Ryan Vogelsong held the Rockies to four hits in Monday’s 8-1

loss, Colorado managed three hits off Jonathan Sanchez and three

relievers in a 6-3 defeat Tuesday.

Winners in six of seven, the reigning World Series champion

Giants (10-7) have scored a combined nine runs in the first inning

of the last two games. That’s a trend the Rockies must end if they

want to avoid being swept by San Francisco at Coors Field for the

first time since Aug. 26-29, 2002.

“It would be nice to not spot them four runs,” said Rockies

shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is 0 for 7 in the series. “It’s a

tough uphill battle for us, especially with the pitchers that they

have.

“(Wednesday is) an important game. You don’t want anyone coming

in here and sweeping you. At the same time, it is April

still.”

Colorado faces a daunting task against Cain (2-0, 1.42 ERA), who

has carried his 2010 postseason success over to 2011.

After pitching 21 1-3 scoreless innings to go 2-0 in three

playoff starts, Cain has allowed three runs and 14 hits over 19

innings in his first three outings this year.

“I definitely go back to the postseason where I mentally was and

try to use that to my advantage,” Cain said.

The right-hander allowed one run and four hits in six innings of

a 5-2 win at Arizona on Friday.

“He’s really, I think, grown so much over the past year and a

half,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s got good poise out

there.”

Cain enjoyed a great deal of success last season against the

Rockies, going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts. The last two

came at Coors Field, where he is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last

four starts dating to 2009.

Though Tulowitzki has struggled the last two nights, he is

batting .323 on the season and .304 with three homers, two doubles

and a triple versus Cain.

Jorge De La Rosa (2-0, 3.18) will oppose Cain, trying to

continue his recent success both this season and against the

Giants.

The left-hander gave up season highs of four runs, four walks

and five hits Thursday in the nightcap of a doubleheader at New

York, but his 6 2-3 innings were also a season high and he got

credit for the Rockies’ 9-4 victory.

De La Rosa is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA in nine starts versus San

Francisco. However, the loss came in his most recent outing against

the Giants on Sept. 26, when he allowed three runs and five walks

in six innings of a 4-2 defeat at Coors Field.

San Francisco first baseman Aubrey Huff, 3 for 7 with two

doubles versus De La Rosa, homered for the second time in three

games Tuesday. He has five RBIs during that span.

The Giants could be without center fielder Aaron Rowand, who

left Tuesday’s game with a bruised left forearm after he was hit by

a pitch from Ubaldo Jimenez. Rowand is batting .320.