Giants-Rockies Preview

The Associated Press

The San Francisco Giants are in danger of their worst start to a season in 62 years.

Sending Barry Zito to the mound for the first time in 2012 may not help them avoid that dubious fate.

Zito will try to put another disappointing season behind him and help the Giants avoid their first 0-4 start since 1950 when they visit the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.

San Francisco (0-3) was swept in its season-opening three-game set at Arizona, losing each contest by one run. The Giants blew a six-run lead after three innings and made three errors in a 7-6 loss Sunday.

"They chipped away and we couldn't add on," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We beat ourselves."

Zito will be asked to get the Giants into the win column for the first time this season.

The veteran left-hander continues to be a major disappointment since moving across the Bay from Oakland in 2007. He was 3-4 with a career-high 5.87 ERA while foot injuries limited him to 13 games - nine starts - last season.

Zito's spring performance certainly didn't inspire any confidence, as he compiled a 7.91 ERA and served up five homers in six starts.

"I'm just fighting myself with the timing out there," Zito told the team's official website. "Getting on my front foot has been a real challenge. That's why everything is up in the zone."

Zito is 5-2 with a 2.65 ERA in 15 career starts against the Rockies, but he has a 9.31 ERA in his last two - both in 2010 at Coors Field.

Buster Posey has certainly felt at home in Denver, hitting .360 with one homer and seven RBIs. He has collected two hits in each of the last three games there, and enters this meeting after going 2 for 4 with a two-run shot Sunday - his first homer since breaking his leg on a collision at the plate last May.

Pablo Sandoval is also off to a strong start at the plate, going 5 for 12 with one homer and four RBIs. The third basemen was 7 for 12 with a double, two triples, three homers while driving in six runs in his last three games at Colorado, helping the Giants to a four-game sweep there Sept. 15-18.

The Rockies (1-2) will be happy to return to their hitter-friendly park after batting .198 while dropping two of three at Houston. They were held to five hits in Sunday's 3-2 loss.

"I've always said that pitching dominates at the beginning," shortstop Troy Tulowitzki told the team's official website. "That held true for this series. It wasn't very offensive."

Tulowitzki went 2 for 10 with a triple, homer and three RBIs in the season-opening series. That's still better than his .091 average through the first three games of 2011. However, he's just 5 for 37 versus Zito.

Jhoulys Chacin gets the ball in the home opener, looking to improve upon a poor second half to last season. He was 3-10 with a 4.58 ERA in his last 16 starts - including two losses to the Giants - after going 8-4 with a 2.71 ERA in his first 15.

"Last year in the second half, I was trying a lot of different stuff, instead of making my pitch and not worrying about anything else," Chacin said.

Chacin is 3-3 with a 2.79 ERA in six career starts against San Francisco, but Sandoval is 6 for 12 with a home run off the right-hander.

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