Chacon is off to one of the best starts in franchise history, going 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA in April. Making it even more impressive, four of Chacon’s five starts have come at Coors Field.
Brian Bohanon went 5-0 with a 3.27 ERA to start the 1999 season, but only one of Bohanon’s starts during that span came at Coors.
Chacon took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the club’s home opener on April 4 and hasn’t looked back since.
“This game is all about streaks,” Chacon said. “I’m not going to get caught up in the success I’m having right now. I have to keep the same mentality.”
Last August, Chacon was yanked from the rotation and demoted to Triple-A, and he wasn’t even recalled when the rosters expanded to 40 players in September. Manager Clint Hurdle criticized Chacon’s attitude and his work ethic, saying, “Sometimes you get to this level and you get some time in and you take it for granted. There are no scholarships here.”
Noting that Chacon was 0-5 in his last six starts and had an 11-21 record with a 5.35 ERA in two seasons, Hurdle said, “We haven’t seen the progression that we’d like to see.”
Chacon didn’t take his demotion well, but he and Hurdle ironed out their differences in the offseason.
“I think I did take things for granted,” Chacon said. “Clint saw it, and other people probably saw it, too. The truth hurts. You never see yourself as others see you.”
Now Hurdle sees the 25-year-old Chacon as the ace of the staff.
“He has been focused, he has been diligent in his side work, in his video work, in all of his workouts,” Hurdle said.
The Rockies have lost two straight, including a 7-2 defeat to the Reds on Thursday.
Colorado took two of three from Chicago last week at Coors Field.
The Cubs won two of three at Pacific Bell Park, capped by a 5-1, 10-inning win over the Giants on Thursday. Alex Gonzalez hit two homers, including a three-run shot in the 10th to lead Chicago, which gave former Giant and current Cubs skipper Dusty Baker his first-ever wins over the team he managed for 10 years.
Baker left San Francisco last November after taking the club to its first World Series since 1989. The three-time NL manager of the year was satisfied with his team’s performance, but is happy to be going home to Wrigley.
“I’m tired,” Baker said. “Ready to get on a plane. There’s no way to overstate it. That was a big series for us. … It’s special to win because I really don’t like all that attention focused on me. My players played. I know it’s hard to win here—I was here.”
STANDINGS: Rockies - 2nd place, 4 1/2 GB, NL West. Cubs - 1st place, NL Central.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Chacon (4-0, 1.04 ERA). Chacon faced the Cubs in his last start, and was the winning pitcher in Colorado’s 8-5 win at Coors Field on April 26, allowing two runs—one earned—and three hits over seven innings. Chacon is 1-2 with a 7.80 ERA in three starts against them.
CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Shawn Estes (1-3, 7.43 ERA). Estes took the loss in that game against Chacon and the Rockies, allowing seven runs and 12 hits in two innings. Estes is 7-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 16 starts against Colorado.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Todd Helton, .337 avg., 6 HRs, 27 RBIs and 28 runs; Preston Wilson, 5 SBs. Cubs - Sammy Sosa, .313 avg. and 6 HRs; Sosa and Corey Patterson, 22 RBIs; Patterson, 22 runs; Patterson, Moises Alou, Tom Goodwin and Mark Bellhorn, 2 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Rockies, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - INF/OF Chris Richard was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a strained left hamstring. The club purchased the contract of OF Mark Sweeney from Triple-A Colorado Springs to replace him. … RHP Scott Elarton was optioned to Colorado Springs on Thursday after he completed a rehab assignment. … OF Wilson is hitting .400 (8-for-20) with two home runs and three RBIs in his career against LHP Estes. Cubs - SS Gonzalez has five career multihomer games. … RHP Antonio Alfonseca, who’s been on rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa, will throw in front of the coaching staff Friday when the team returns home. Then the Cubs will decide whether to activate him from the DL this weekend. … LHP Estes is 2-3 with a 4.23 ERA in seven career starts at Wrigley Field.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 4-9 on the road; Cubs - 8-5 at home.
INJURIES: Rockies - OF Richard (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Stark (side), 60-day DL; INF Pablo Ozuna (knee), 60-day DL; INF Juan Uribe (foot), 60-day DL. Cubs - RHP Alfonseca (hamstring), 15-day DL; LHP Will Ohman (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Dave Veres (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Chiasson (elbow), 60-day DL.