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Know Your Foe: Rox head east to the Windy City, NL West "Aces" folding

The schedule-makers were not kind to the Rockies in April.  Every foe save the Padres are widely considered the top (or second best) team in their division.  There's Arizona, the WS Champion Phillies, Cubs, Dodgers, D-backs again, Dodgers again, and finally San Diego.

The difficult month will be a solid measuring stick for the enigmatic club.  Like absolutely no one has ever said before, they need to just take it one series at a time.  In an effort to represent parallelism, I will be doing the same.  From now on, you'll get a KYF twice a week, before every series.  It will help keep the preview up-to-date.

First on the docket in 2009's second week - the two-time NL Central Champion Chicago Cubs.



Chicago (4-2, 2nd in NL Central)

Cubs_2008_logo_mediumMonday, Wednesday : 2-game series at Chicago

It will be deja vu all over again.  For the third time in eight days, it will be Opening Day for the Rockies, as Chicago plays their first home game of the 2009 season today.  Despite opening on the road, the Cubs have yet to lose a series, having taken two games each at Houston and Milwaukee.

The Cubs lost Mark DeRosa to Cleveland, but Mike Fontenot is doing well in replacing him.  Milton Bradley also has joined the cast.

The first game of the series is scheduled for today, with an off day set for tomorrow.  This was done for protection from bad weather, and that looks like a good idea.  The forecast for today shows cold temperatures and rain.  The last and other game of the series is Wednesday.

Probable Pitchers:

Today, 12:20pm MDT

Ubaldo Jimenez will be going for his second win today against a team he has struggled with in his career.  If he is successful, he will earn that win 68 days earlier than he did last year.  Ted Lilly surrended four home runs last Wednesday, yet he still earned the win.

2009 - Ubaldo Jimenez 1-0 0.00 1.00 8 3

2009 - Ted Lilly 1-0 9.00 1.60 3 0


Wednesday, April 15, 12:20pm MDT

Jason Marquis earns a tough draw Wednesday against his former club.  It's hard to top Marquis' Rockie debut, but Rich Harden's maiden start of 2009 was dominant.  Harden has never faced the Rockies in his career.

2009 - Jason Marquis 1-0 2.57 1.00 2 2

2009 - Rich Harden 0-0 1.50 0.83 10 2



Chicago boasts a potent line-up despite the Iannetta-like struggles in the middle of the order.

Player Avg HR RBI
Soriano .286 4 7
Fukudome .409 2 4
Lee .080 0 4
Bradley .059 1 1
Ramirez .269 2 6
Fontenot .333 1 4
Soto .167 0 0
Theriot .550 0 3

33_15_10---fire-flame-texture_web_mediumThe top of the line-up is clicking.  Alfonso Soriano (.286/.355/.786) leads the NL with 4 home runs and is 4th in RBIs.  Kosuke Fukudome (.409/.480/.818) has broken out of the gates strong once again, and Mike Fontenot (.333/.462/.571) and Ryan Theriot (.550/.615/.700) complete the up-the-middle sizzle.  Carlos Marmol (0.00 ERA, 4.2 IP, 2 hits, 4K, SV) is pitching like he wants to be the closer.


The middle of the line-up needs a defibrillator.  Derrek Lee (.080/.172/.120)and Milton Bradley (.059/.333/.235) have been just brutal as lineup anchors.  Kevin Gregg (12.00 ERA, 3 IP, SV, BS) is not doing a great job of staving off Marmol for the closer position.



Catcher Geovany Soto left Tuesday's game with shoulder inflammation, but he should be ready to return to the starting lineup by Wednesday's game, although today is a possibility as well.  He struck out in a pinch hit appearance yesterday.  Soto's back-up is Koyie Hill...Milton Bradley strained his right groin last night and will be out of the line-up.  He will be replaced by Reed Johnson, who flashed some leather last night in robbing a grand slam from the Prince.


NL West Report


Arizona (2-4, t-4th, L2)

Last Week: 1-2 vs Rockies, 1-2 vs. Dodgers.  It's not a good sign for a team to lose its first two series, both at home, when six of their first seven are at home.  It will be that much harder to make up ground when they hit that long stretch on the road.

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Cardinals, 3 game road series at Giants

News:  Pitcher Brandon Webb has been placed on the disabled list, retroactive to his Opening Day start last Monday due to lingering shoulder soreness. 

Brandon Webb

#17 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





May 09, 1979

Webb, who missed a start Monday, will miss one more before being eligible to come off the DL.  No one has been announced to take Webb's roster spot yet.

It has been a rough first week for Arizona.  They even gave up a bizarre run on a fourth out yesterday.

Arizona great Luis Gonzalez won't retire just yet, but he will retire as a Diamondback, when he will pursue a management role.


Los Angeles (4-3, 2nd, W2)

Last Week: 2-2 at Padres, 2-1 at Diamondbacks.

This Week: 3 game home series vs Giants, 3 game home series vs Rockies

News: Hiroki Kuroda was the first NL West Opening Day starter to land on the DL.  Kuroda was placed on the DL Friday with a left oblique strain, and he'll be eligible to return April 22. 

Hiroki Kuroda

#18 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers





Feb 10, 1975

Eric Stults took his place on the roster and filled in nicely for Kuroda on Saturday.  Still, the staff loses its senior member...could it be vulnerable?

Joe Torre is messing around with his rotation.  James McDonald's start will get pushed back to Sunday vs. Colorado, and he'll work in the bullpen until then.  It will be interesting to see what shape that leaves McDonald in for the final game against Colorado.

Outfielder Delwyn Young, who is currently on the DL, is out of options and probably out of a job.  Many teams are interested in Young, all of them near Lake Erie.

MLBTradeRumors Tim Dierkes evaluates the Dodgers offseason.

San Diego (5-2, 1st, W4)

This Week: 2-2 vs. Dodgers, 3-0 vs. Giants.  Easily the surprise of the division, the Padres have made use of the friendly confines of Petco Park to storm out to the division's best record.  Expect them to come back to earth after traveling to the east coast this week.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Mets, 4 game road series @ Phillies.

News: Signed RHP Chad Gaudin to a minor league contract.  San Diego is only required to pay $400k of his $2mil salary.

Chad Gaudin

#57 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres





Mar 24, 1983

He will report to AAA but will likely be wearing San Diego sand soon enough.

The Padres also claimed reliever Luis Perdomo off of waivers from the Giants Friday.  Perdomo was a Rule 5draft choice from the Cardinals, and he will have a solid shot to contribute out of Bud Black's bullpen.


San Francisco (2-4, t-4th, L3)

Last Week: 2-1 vs. Brewers, 0-3 at Padres.  The Giants gave up at least six runs in all three games vs. the anemic Padre offense in pitcher-frindly Petco.

This Week: 3 game road series @ Dodgers, 3 game home series vs Arizona.

News:  He might not be injured (yet), but Giants ace Tim Lincecum is legitimately struggling to start the 2009 campaign.

Television cameras caught him muttering to himself and grimacing in disgust on the mound.

"I was all over the place," Lincecum said. "It got frustrating at times. I don't know if you guys could see it on my face, but I was trying to keep my poise out there. It was a rough game and it just got rougher."


Tim Lincecum

#55 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants





Jun 15, 1984

2009 - Tim Lincecum 0-1 7.56 2.47 10 6

Might it be because Bruce Bochy so ridiculously abused Timmy's golden arm last year?

Pablo Sandoval and Travis Ishikawa combined to go just 2-for-22 in the sweep at Petco.  To add depth, GM Brian Sabean inked a guy who jacked 42 home runs in AAA last year: Dallas McPherson. The former Angel will report to extended spring training and then join AAA Fresno initially as a back-up.

Former Giant Dave Roberts has joined the broadcast team for Comcast despite  having yet to announce his retirement.