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Outlook: Chacin looks for consistency in '12

Both the Giants and Rockies held high expectations entering the 2011 campaign. After all, San Francisco was home to the reigning World Series champions and Colorado had pieced together its third winning season in four years.

Both clubs, however, watched all of the postseason action unfold from home last October.

The Giants finished eight games behind division champ Arizona. The Rockies tumbled to fourth in the National League West while limping to a 73-89 mark.

Despite slow starts -- San Francisco is 0-3 and Colorado is 1-2 -- the division rivals have renewed optimism at the beginning of the new season. A pair of hurlers who struggled during Spring Training could play a role in how the clubs fare in 2012.

Southpaw Barry Zito posted a 7.91 ERA in six spring starts spanning 19 1/3 innings.

"I'm just fighting myself with the timing out there," Zito said after allowing five runs on seven hits in three innings of a March 31 outing. "Getting on my front foot has been a real challenge. That's why everything is up in the zone."

Jhoulys Chacin has been a bright spot in Colorado's rotation each of the last two years. In 2011, he compiled an 11-14 record and 3.62 ERA in 31 starts. In seven spring outings, however, the right-hander went 1-3 with a 5.81 ERA.

In the Rockies' Cactus League finale Wednesday, Chacin surrendered five runs on eight hits in four innings. He yielded six consecutive two-out hits in his final frame.

"He had some two-strike problems," manager Jim Tracy said. "That was the biggest thing I saw in the fourth inning. He did a great job pitching ahead, getting ahead of hitters, but he made bad two-strike pitches in the fourth inning."

Zito and Chacin will duel Monday afternoon at Coors Field in the Rockies' home opener.

Giants: Starting pitching hasn't been up to snuff
The Giants didn't get the starting pitching they're accustomed to in their first series. San Francisco lost, 5-4, to Arizona on Friday and by the same score Saturday. They let a 6-0 lead slip away Sunday and lost, 7-6.

Tim Lincecum allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings Friday. Madison Bumgarner lasted just four innings Saturday, as he departed after yielding four runs on seven hits.

On Sunday, Matt Cain, who signed a five-year, $112.5 million contract extension last week, gave up five runs on six hits in six innings.

The Giants are far from concerned, however.

"Our guys have track records and we know how good they are," catcher Buster Posey said.

• Posey hit his first home run of the season Sunday, his first long ball since April 24, 2011. The catcher missed most of last season after suffering a broken leg and torn ankle ligaments in a collision at home plate.

Rockies: Helton unhappy with slow start
First baseman Todd Helton was not thrilled with his 1-for-8 performance in the Rockies' first two games of the season.

The 38-year-old doubled in Friday's season-opening win and went 0-for-4 with an RBI in Saturday's loss. He did not start Sunday.

"I'm disappointed in my swings at the end of the games, both nights," Helton said.

Jason Giambi, who took Helton's spot in the starting lineup Sunday, walked three times in four plate appearances. Helton drew a pinch-hit walk in the ninth inning.

Worth noting
• The Giants won 13 of their 18 meetings with the Rockies last season.

• Before losing to them Saturday, Bumgarner had been 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA in six career appearances against the D-backs. Comments