Two of this year's Cubs should feel right at home in Coors Field -- Dexter Fowler and Jason Hammel both spent several years as Rockies. Hammel, who will start tomorrow, has never faced the Rockies as a visitor -- he was traded away from the Cubs before they played their only 2014 series in Denver. Fowler's one year in Houston did not include a visit to Coors, so he's never played there as a visitor, either.
The Rockies swept the Brewers in Milwaukee in their opening set this year and outscored the Brew Crew 20-6. This is something that's not likely to last, even with them playing in their home park and weather conditions supposed to be surprisingly pleasant for the entire weekend (highs in the 60s and 70s, lows in the 40s, no precipitation). The Rockies are one of five teams that swept their opening series (Braves, Reds, Tigers and Royals are the others).
The Cubs, meanwhile, allowed just three total runs in the two games they played against the Cardinals and scored just two. They're likely to do better than that.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Soler RF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Olt 3B, Szczur LF, Castillo C, Wood P, Alcantara 2B
Dickerson LF, Tulowitzki SS, Arenado 3B, Gonzalez RF, Rosario 1B, Stubbs CF, Hundley C, Matzek P, LeMahieu 2B
This will be the first game in Cubs history in which the pitchers for both teams bat eighth. This pitcher-batting-eighth thing is getting trendy.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Travis Wood will be trying to recover from a really bad 2014. He faced the Rockies twice last year, in back-to-back starts July 30 at Wrigley Field and August 5 in Denver. Truth be told, those were two of his better outings of the year. He struck out 11 in the first one and gave up just three runs in six innings in the second. If he can do that again, the Cubs have a good shot at winning this one.
Tyler Matzek had a decent rookie year for Colorado in 2014, making 19 starts and one relief appearance and posting a 4.05 ERA and 1.9 bWAR. The one relief appearance was in the famous John Baker Game. Matzek threw the 16th inning and allowed the Cubs the winning run. It's his only career appearance against the Cubs.
Today's game is on WGN. For coverage info in other Midwest markets click here (link opens .pdf).
Once again for 2015, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as the last couple of years. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for most day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.