Giants seek to get upper hand on Rockies

Giants seek to get upper hand on Rockies

SAN FRANCISCO -- Strictly in terms of season series, the Colorado Rockies have given the Giants more problems than any other National League West club in the last three years. So don't expect the Giants to take the Rockies lightly during the three-game series that begins Friday.

Colorado won 10 of 18 games from the Giants in 2006 and '07. Last year, the Rockies gained even more control, finishing 11-7 against San Francisco. That included a 6-3 mark at AT&T Park. In that three-year span, the Giants have won or tied at least one season series with every other division rival.

San Francisco will open the series against Ubaldo Jimenez, who will live forever as the man who yielded Barry Bonds' last home run (Sept. 5, 2007, at Denver). This time, the Giants may rely on Aaron Rowand, who owns a four-game hitting streak and a .308 career average (4-for-13) against Jimenez.

Just two other Giants have accumulated more than 10 at-bats against Jimenez: Randy Winn (.231, 3-for-13) and Bengie Molina (.182, 2-for-11).

Though Bonds won't be on the premises -- unless he makes another surprise visit to the ballpark, as he did Monday -- the Giants still have a legend on their side against Jimenez: left-hander Randy Johnson, the 296-game winner who's 18-7 lifetime against the Rockies. The Giants will try to muster some offense for Johnson, who has received one run of support or less in each his four outings. Only Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto has received less backing among NL hurlers.

Pitching matchup
SF: LHP Randy Johnson (1-2, 6.16 ERA)
Johnson followed up his best start of the season with his worst start in nearly a decade -- at least in terms of command. The seven walks he issued, in only 3 1/3 innings, Saturday in Arizona, were his most since he issued the same number of passes on July 25, 2000. Johnson may have been guilty of trying to overthrow in his emotional visiting debut in Chase Field, as he was consistently outside. He won't have the extra baggage in this latest quest for career win No. 297.

COL: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (1-3, 7.58 ERA)
After throwing seven innings of shutout ball in his first start, Jimenez has struggled with his mechanics and his command. He has been unable to finish five innings in his last three starts, giving up 16 earned runs in 12 innings. Facing the Dodgers at Coors Field on Saturday, Jimenez was erratic in his delivery and his pitches missed the target by a large margin. When he found the strike zone, he hit too much of it, allowing Los Angeles to tee off with five consecutive hits in the four-run first.

By defeating Los Angeles' Eric Stults, the Giants improved to 4-3 against left-handed starters, including three victories in a row. ... The Giants are 8-3 when they receive a quality start. ... Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's telecast of Tuesday night's 5-3 loss to the Dodgers drew the network's highest rating for a Giants game since Aug. 7, 2007, when Barry Bonds hit his record-breaking 756th home run against the Washington Nationals. That contest yielded a 7.8 rating in the San Francisco/San Jose/Oakland television market. By comparison, the Giants-Dodgers game delivered an average 5.1 television household rating and peaked at 6.9.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KNBR 680, KIQI (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Giants (Matt Cain, 2-0, 2.08) vs. Rockies (Jason Marquis, 3-1, 4.10), 1:05 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Giants (Barry Zito, 0-2, 5.24) vs. Rockies (Jason Hammel, 0-0, 5.59), 1:05 p.m. PT
• Monday: Giants (Jonathan Sanchez, 1-1, 2.60) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster, 1-1, 5.40), 5:05 p.m. PT

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.