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Game 22 Preview: Morales takes on Bumgarner in quest for a series win

If the Rockies can't win by the Bay, they need to protect the mountain in series against the Giants at Coors.

Denis Poroy

There's several story lines in the air as we head into the second game of this three game set with the Giants.

First up, the Rockies can clinch their second straight winning home stand and fourth straight series win at home to open the season if they pull this on out. This is important because both the 2007 and 2009 playoff teams won 51 games at Coors. This team will always be at a disadvantage on the road due to the Coors Field Hangover, so grabbing these games at home are key.

In addition to that theme, the Rockies need to continue to remake Coors Field into a house of horrors for the San Francisco Giants. The Mile High City has been the site of many painful moments for the Giants over the years, most notably the SpillySlam game from 2009, but that mostly went away in 2011 and 2012. However, the Rockies have started to bring it back. Since the start of the 2013 season, the Giants are just 3-8 in their 11 games at Coors, which is pretty close to the 3-9 record the Rockies have in AT&T park.

The pitching match up tonight is also interesting. On paper it favors the Giants, but this is a big start for Madison Bumgarner because he hasn't been as dominant as we're used to seeing him in his last couple of outings. Against the Rockies on the 11th of April, he gave up four runs in six innings, but it easily could have been worse. Then last time out against the Dodgers, it took him 99 pitches to only get through 4.1 innings in a losing effort. For his career, Bumgarner has a 4.27 ERA in nine starts at Coors Field.

Opposing Bumgarner will be Franklin Morales. The unpredictable lefty is coming off strong six innings against the Padres where he limited them to just a single run and one walk despite not seeing much run support. For him to have any chance at staying in the rotation, he will need another strong effort tonight as Jordan Lyles shut down the Phillies over the weekend and Jhoulys Chacin may be only one rehab start away from rejoining squad.

One of the keys for Morales in this one will be for him to trust the defense behind him. With Cuddyer on the DL, tonight's lineup features seven extremely strong gloves in back of the mound. If Morales has one of those games where he walks a bunch of hitters however, it won't matter. He has to make the Giants beat him instead of self destructing like we've seen in the past.

One last note, if Charlie Blackmon (who is not in the starting lineup tonight) does not work his way into this game, Nolan Arenado will be the only player on this team to have appeared in every game just 22 games into the season.

Today's Lineups

Angel Pagan - CF Brandon Barnes - RF
Hunter Pence - RF Nolan Arenado - 3B
Buster Posey - C Carlos Gonzalez - LF
Mike Morse - LF Troy Tulowitzki - SS
Pablo Sandoval - 3B Wilin Rosario - C
Brandon Belt - 1B Justin Morneau - 1B
Joaquin Arias - 2B Drew Stubbs - CF
Ehire Adrianza - SS DJ LeMahieu - 2B
Madison Bumgarner - RHP Franklin Morales - LHP