Rockies-Giants: What to watch for

April 9, 2012, 3:34 pm
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DENVER -- The last time the Giants began a season 0-4, it was Saturday, April 22 at Ebbets Field, Gil Hodges hit a home run off Jack Kramer, and New York Giants manager Leo Durocher probably unleashed some fiery rhetoric on his boys.

It's up to Barry Zito to keep the Giants from the same lousy start. The well compensated, much-scrutinized left-hander will make his 2012 debut against Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin as Colorado celebrates its home opener Monday afternoon at Coors Field.

At least Zito has some decent history against the Rockies. He is 5-2 with a 2.60 ERA and .208 opponent's average in 17 games (15 starts). He hasn't lost to them since September 25, 2008 -- a span of eight starts (10 appearances) without a losing decision.

The rest of the series offers a few interesting plot twists as well. Here are other matchups to watch in this three-game series at Coors Field, which includes a day off Tuesday:

Timmy time: Tim Lincecum (0-1, 8.44) will make his second start of the season Wednesday night (5:40 p.m. PDT) against right-hander Jeremy Guthrie (1-0, 3.86), who was the Rockies' opening-day starter. Like the Giants, Colorado is using Tuesday's day off to skip a No.5 pitcher the first time through the rotation.

The Rockies traded late in the offseason for Guthrie, who had been anchoring the Baltimore Orioles' rotation but had become too expensive for their liking through salary arbitration.

Old vs. young: Thursday afternoon's pitching matchup pits 49-year-old Jamie Moyer against 22-year-old Madison Bumgarner, believed to be the largest age gap between two starting pitchers in major league history. Both Moyer and Bumgarner had rough starts to open the season.

But Moyer's soft stuff presents a challenge for the Giants; he went 12 up, 12 down in a spring training start at Salt River Fields in March. With Moyer's next victory, he will become the oldest pitcher in major league history to win a game.

Moyer also will be the first lefty starter the Giants will face this season. That could mean a start for Brett Pill at first base; the Giants did not look good against left-handers most of the spring.

First pitch is at 12:10 PDT.

How they fared last year: The Giants were 13-5 against Colorado last season (7-2 at home, 6-3 at Coors), the most victories over the Rockies in a single season. The Giants' six victories at Coors Field last year were their most since 2004.

The Giants have won eight of their last 10 against the Rockies and outscored them 54 to 27 over that stretch. They also lead the all-time series, 169-132.

Looking back: When the Giants blew a 6-0 lead and lost Sunday in Arizona, it was the first time they coughed up a lead of three or more runs and lost since Sept. 25, 2010 at Colorado. The Giants were 44-0 last year when holding a lead of three or more runs.

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