Greg Maddux has plenty of impressive numbers on his Hall of Fame resume. His record at Coors Field happens to be one of them.
The 315-game winner is 5-0 with a 5.70 ERA in six career starts at Coors Field. While many pitchers falter in the thin Denver air, Maddux has found a way to win despite recording his highest ERA in any park in which he has made at least five starts.
Maddux is seeking a third straight victory after allowing one run and three hits over seven innings Tuesday in a 4-1 win at Houston. He improved to 7-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 14 road starts this season.
“He was as good as I’ve seen,” Cubs catcher Henry Blanco said. “He was tremendous. His changeup was real good today.”
Maddux is 11-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 18 career starts against Colorado.
Chicago had its three-game winning streak snapped with a 4-2 loss Saturday. The Cubs are 5 1/2 games behind NL wild card leader Philadelphia.
Derrek Lee had a pair of doubles and has hit safely in all five games of Chicago’s road trip. Lee is hitting just .269 (18-for-67) in August, dropping his NL-leading average from .360 to .346.
The Cubs expect shortstop Nomar Garciaparra back in the lineup Sunday. Garciaparra has not started the last two games due to a sore lower back.
Maddux will be opposed by a pitcher who has also had success at Coors— Colorado rookie Jeff Francis. The 24-year-old left-hander is 8-4 with a 4.72 ERA in 13 home starts.
However, Francis is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA over his last two starts at Coors, including Tuesday’s 6-4 loss to Milwaukee in which he gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings.
“I’m fighting against myself,” Francis said. “I’m going out there and they’re not beating me. It’s me making the mistakes and they’re taking advantage of them. That’s the most frustrating thing for me.”