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MIL@COL: Nicasio records the first strikeout of game

It's time for the Rockies' home opener at Coors Field on Friday against the D-backs even though there's snow on the ground and the weather seems more like winter.

"I know it's going to be cold, so I'm already set mentally. If it's warm, it's a gift for us," said Rockies center fielder Carlos Gonzalez, whose team opened in the more temperate clime of Miami. "But I always get mentally prepared for that. I know there are going to be some cold games there. Night games, especially, are really hard. But that's what we have and what we have to deal with."

There were snow showers in the Denver area Thursday and the temperature hovered around 40. The forecast for Friday is for clear sunny skies and 55 degrees.

"It's good to get home. I like the weather [in Miami] a lot better, so that'll be a shock," manager Walt Weiss said after his Rockies opened by losing two of three to the Marlins. "I got a text this morning, a picture out the window, and there was a lot of snow at our place. But it'll be good -- a great atmosphere and we play well at home. I look forward to it."

The D-backs have opened the season by going 1-5 on two continents and in two distinct time zones. They'll travel to the Mountain time zone where they hope to change their luck.

Asked what he expected from the weekend, manager Kirk Gibson said:

"I'd like to win three games. How does that sound?"

The D-backs lost twice to the Dodgers last month in Sydney, Australia, and three out of four to the Giants at Chase Field.

The highlight of the week has been the continued stellar play of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who has now had a hit in 25 consecutive games.

D-backs: Pitchers still trying to find their legs

The D-backs allowed 23 runs in their just-concluded four-game series against the Giants. And with Randall Delgado taking the hill for the first time this season, Arizona starters need to find a way to get deeper into games.

None of their four starters this week made it past the seventh inning, and newcomer Bronson Arroyo was lifted with one out in the fifth in an 8-5 loss Thursday. The D-backs are currently carrying 13 pitchers.

"It's important. We've got to get to the point where our starters are eating innings in general," Gibson said. "We have an extra pitcher now. When Cody [Ross] comes back [from rehab], we're probably going to have to go back to a regular amount of pitchers. So we're going to need more contributions by then."

In contrast, the bullpen has picked up right where it left off last season when it blew 29 saves. The 'pen blew a 7-3 lead by allowing four seventh-inning runs in the opener Monday on the way to a 9-8 loss. And on Thursday, the Giants wiped out a 5-3 deficit with five runs in the eighth.

"It doesn't have anything to do with last year," Gibson said. "It has to do with this year. We put guys into positions. We've got to make good pitches in situations. When your starter goes 4 1/3 innings it's not ideal for anybody. It makes it tough."

Rockies: Weiss chooses Nicasio for home opener

Weiss decided to go with Juan Nicasio rather than lefty Franklin Morales in the home opener because Nicasio has more recent experience at Coors Field. Morales pitched for the Rockies from 2007-11, but Nicasio has been with the club the last three seasons.

Nicasio is 10-7 with a 5.02 ERA in 28 starts at home. He is 1-1 with an 8.05 career ERA against the D-backs.

"More than anything, Juan has pitched a lot and made a lot of starts in our park," Weiss said. "Frankie did at one time, but it's been awhile. I'd rather Frankie's first start be on the road before we get back there in all the hoopla of Opening Day and throw that on top of being with a new club. Juan was the best choice."

Morales made his first start Thursday at Marlins Park. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts in what turned out to be an 8-5 loss.

Worth noting

• Goldschmidt's hitting streak extends him past Tony Womack for the second longest in franchise history. Luis Gonzalez's 30-game streak in 1999 remains the D-backs' record.

• Michael Cuddyer came out of Miami as the Rockies' hottest hitter. He's 7-for-17 (.412) with a homer and four RBIs.

• Arizona's Trevor Cahill was the team's best starter this week, having allowed two runs and four hits in six innings during a 2-0 loss to Tim Hudson and the Giants. The D-backs haven't scored in his two starts, both losses.

• The Rockies won their home opener last year over the Padres, 5-2. Jeff Francis was the winner. Troy Tulowitzki had two hits and two RBIs.

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