(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Rockies try to open a season with four straight wins for the first time in 20 years, as they kick off the home portion of their schedule with the start of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
Not much was expected from the Rockies this season, but they have come out of the gates firing on all cylinders and return to Coors Field on the heels of an impressive three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Colorado, which lost 96 games a season ago, outscored the Brewers 20-6 to notch its first sweep to start a season since 2001. It's the first time it did it on the road since 1998.
"Our confidence is unbelievable right now," said outfielder Corey Dickerson, who drove in six runs during the season-opening sweep.
With another win on Friday the Rockies would be 4-0 for the first time since starting the 1995 campaign with the same record.
"This is a different year. It's a different team," manager Walt Weiss said after Wednesday's 5-4, 10-inning victory. "It's a nice way to start."
Colorado, whose starters pitched to a 1.93 ERA against Milwaukee, will hand the ball to lefty Tyler Matzek, who appeared in 20 games (19 starts) for the Rockies last season and was 6-11 with a 4.05 ERA. However, he closed the year strong, going 4-2 with a 1.55 ERA in his last six starts and posted a 1.61 ERA while winning three of his final four outings at Coors.
Matzek's lone relief appearance last season was a loss to the Cubs.
Chicago, meanwhile, split its weather-abbreviated two-game affair with the St. Louis Cardinals to start the year. After losing the opener, the Cubs gave Joe Maddon his first win with the team on Wednesday, as Starlin Castro's RBI single in the seventh inning snapped a scoreless deadlock and rewarded Jake Arrieta's outstanding performance on the mound in a2-0 triumph.
Castro's clutch hit was just the second allowed by Cardinals starter Lance Lynn's six-plus innings, and broke Chicago's 0-for-15 streak with runners in scoring position to begin the season.
The Cubs went hitless in 13 at-bats during such situations in Maddon's anticipated debut as the club's new manager, a 3-0 loss to St. Louis on Sunday's Opening Night.
Arrieta (1-0) limited the Cardinals to three hits and three walks while striking out seven over seven scoreless innings.
Now, Chicago turns to lefty Travis Wood, who was 8-13 a year ago with a career-worst 5.03 ERA. He had won a career best nine games the previous season, while pitching to a 3.11 ERA.
Wood may have his hands full with Colorado's dynamic duo of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez.
Tulowitzki has a career .302 batting average, and has hit four home runs and driven in 33 runs in 34 games against the Cubs, while Gonzalez has a career .355 batting average and has smacked eight home runs and driven in 22 in 32 games against Chicago.
"They put together a pretty good squad over there," Wood said. "We'll have to bring our A-game to beat them."
Chicago won five of its seven matchups with the Rockies last season.