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Cubs' Carlos Zambrano Aims For First Win at Coors Field

Sayre BedingerSenior Writer IAugust 7, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 27: Starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano #38 of the Chicago Cubs delivers the ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 27, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Pirates 5-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

On Friday night at Coors field, two of the hottest teams in the National League will face each other to kick off a very critical four game series.

Carlos Zambrano (7-4, 3.35 ERA) and the Chicago Cubs will travel to the Rocky Mountains to challenge Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 3.76 ERA) and the Colorado Rockies.

Since firing their former manager Clint Hurdle, the Rockies (59-49) have burst on to the scene as one of the elite teams in the NL West, and have challenged division foe's Los Angeles and San Francisco for play-off position.

The Cubs (57-49) have emerged from the All-Star break as the hottest team in baseball after starting the season as one of the more disappointing teams in the majors.

That emergence has seen them go from fourth place to first place in a month's time, and a lot of that success can be attributed to the return of third baseman Aramis Ramirez and the play of Alfonso Soriano and Derrek Lee.

This four game series will not be an easy one for the Cubs, as the Rockies have won 39 games since the beginning of June, which is tied for the most in baseball.

One interesting part of this series is that Carlos Zambrano will be vying for his first career victory at Coors field, one of two National League parks he has yet to record a win.

The series between these two teams in 2009 is tied at one apiece, and the Cubs have won 12 of the last 16 matchups with Colorado overall.

Jimenez is going for his third straight victory for the Rockies, who are currently on a two-game losing streak courtesy of the Philadelphia Phillies.

For the first time in a long time, the Cubs will also feature their full opening day roster as Geovany Soto returns from injury.

The 2008 NL Rookie of the Year has largely been a disappointment for the Cubs this season, but his bat is undoubtedly better than Koyie Hill's, who did a great job filling in for Soto this season.

Soto's return will give the Cubs a dynamic offensive lineup that will be brand new to Chicago fans, and it will look something like this:

1.  Kosuke Fukudome, CF

2.  Ryan Theriot, SS

3.  Derrek Lee, 1B

4.  Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5.  Milton Bradley, RF

6.  Alfonso Soriano, LF

7.  Geovany Soto, C

8.  Mike Fontenot, 2B

Soto hit a home run in a rehab start at double-A Tennessee, and the Cubs look forward to having his strong bat back in the order against the Rockies.

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