Cubs Cookin' at Coors

The Chicago Cubs are getting a lot of help from the Colorado Rockies lately.

The Cubs go for back-to-back strong performances when they continue a four-game series with Colorado on Friday at Coors Field.

Chicago (59-55) mustered just eight runs in its recent four-game skid, but got back on track with a 10-2 win over the Rockies (59-55) in Thursday's series opener.

Jacque Jones went 4-for-5, including his 1,200th hit, and matched a season high with four RBIs. Jason Kendall had three hits and drove in two runs while Matt Murton homered for the Cubs, who have won all four meetings with Colorado this season and five in a row overall.

Chicago is averaging 8.5 runs and batting .340 versus the Rockies this season.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Colorado -145 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 10.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Colorado -145 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

"We had a nice, positive meeting before the ballgame, and these young men went out and got it done," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, whose team recorded 16 hits.

With Thursday's victory, the Cubs pulled within one-half game of idle Milwaukee for first place in the NL Central. They can thank Colorado for helping them remain so close in the division race, as the Rockies swept the Brewers in their series earlier this week.

Colorado totaled 36 runs and 50 hits in that three-game set, but was held to five hits Thursday. Jeff Baker homered for the Rockies, who lost for only the fifth time in the last 24 home games, getting held to their fewest runs and hits during that stretch.

They'll try to rebound versus Jason Marquis (8-7, 4.39 ERA), who is looking to end a dismal road skid when he takes the ball for Chicago.

The right-hander has dropped four straight starts away from home while posting a 9.92 ERA and .324 opponent batting average. He has issued 14 walks during that stretch as opposed to just eight strikeouts.

Marquis has had better luck at Coors Field, winning both career starts there. He is 4-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 10 career games, including eight starts, versus the Rockies.

Marquis is coming off an 8-3 home defeat to the New York Mets on Sunday when he gave up five runs and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings. He fell to 3-6 in his last 16 starts.

Aaron Cook (8-6, 4.16) tries to bounce back from a shaky start when he takes the mound for Colorado. The right-hander had won three straight starts while posting a 1.52 ERA and a .200 opponent batting average before struggling in a 6-5, 10-inning defeat to Atlanta on Sunday.

Cook allowed five runs - three earned - and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings, matching his shortest start of the season.

"I got some balls up in the zone. I wasn't sharp. I didn't have the fastball I usually have," said Cook, who had lasted at least seven innings in his previous three starts.

The sinkerballer is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two career starts versus the Cubs, though he has not faced them this season.

He won't have to pitch against Chicago's Aramis Ramirez, who has missed the last two games with a sore right wrist. The power-hitting third baseman had an MRI on Thursday, revealing no structural damage, and is expected back in the lineup for Sunday's finale or Tuesday against Cincinnati.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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