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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Rockies Series Preview

This series cannot be worse than the last one. Right? RIGHT?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

As has been the case for Cubs series this year, I asked my counterpart at SB Nation's Rockies site Purple Row to give me an overview of his team, who the Cubs have not faced since April. Here's what editor Bryan Kilpatrick sent me:

The Colorado Rockies' annual identity crisis is in full effect.

The last-place Rox enter their road series against the Chicago Cubs at 42-54 and well out of the N.L. West and Wild Card races. Yet, as the trade deadline approaches, there's no real indication that the team plans to deal any of its assets -- most notably, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

The subject of Tulowitzki is, as always, a contentious one; the team could theoretically keep him and still be able to compete in future seasons, but at what risk? He's healthy for the first time in years, but that could all go away in a millisecond. He's also not getting any younger, and the same could be said about Gonzalez. Though the Rockies aren't quite in Phillies territory yet, comparisons to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard -- both of whom have turned into the decrepit corpses of their former selves while eating up a large portion of Philadelphia's payroll -- aren't too far off.

Colorado has several other assets it should be putting heavy consideration into selling off. Recent All-Stars DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon are strong sell-high candidates, as is catcher Nick Hundley. Jorge De La Rosa is in the midst of another successful season despite pitching half of his games in the best hitter's park most people have ever seen. John Axford, LaTroy Hawkins, Brandon Barnes -- you get the picture.

But history says the Rockies will choose to stand pat once again at the deadline. In the past, the team's questionable July strategy has been a mixture of a disruptive owner and a delusional general manager. It's hard to say that the team's new GM, Jeff Bridich, will follow in the footsteps of his predecessor, but he still has the meddlesome owner Dick Monfort to contend with. Autonomy is the key word; if Monfort allows Bridich to make the moves he wants to make, we could see a trade deadline unlike one we've ever seen from the Rockies.

But, if Monfort does something like what he did a year ago, when he nixed a deal that would have sent De La Rosa to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Eduardo Rodriguez, Rockies fans might revolt.

As for the product on the field, the Rockies are coming off of a 3-3 homestand against the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds. Gonzalez is heating up at the right time; the sweet-swinging lefty just had his second two-homer game in three contests, raising his July total to eight and his season total to 18. After an atrocious start to the season, the two-time All-Star owns an OPS approaching 1.000 since June 1.

The downfall for the Rockies, as always, is pitching; their ERA since the All-Star break is 5.91, which unfortunately isn't all that far off from their season total of close to 5.00. That's what happens when the list of pitchers you've trotted out for a start looks like this:

Kyle Kendrick
Jorge De La Rosa
Chad Bettis
Eddie Butler
Chris Rusin
Jordan Lyles
David Hale
Tyler Matzek
Christian Bergman
Gonzalez Germen

It's pretty clear what the Rockies need to do -- starting now -- to get better. Let's hope their front office sees things the same way.

You will recognize a couple of names on that list, particularly Germen, who pitched in six games in relief for the Cubs earlier this year. Yes, he actually started a game for the Rockies. This one. He wasn't bad in the role, either. Who knew?

Pitching matchups

Monday: Kyle Hendricks (4-5, 3.66 ERA, 1.130 WHIP, 3.24 FIP) vs. Jorge De La Rosa (6-4, 4.62 ERA, 1.414 WHIP, 4.46 FIP)

Tuesday: TBD vs. TBD

Wednesday: Jon Lester (5-8, 3.32 ERA, 1.195 WHIP, 2.99 FIP) vs. Eddie Butler (3-6, 4.77 ERA, 1.790 WHIP, 5.35 FIP)

Well, that's interesting, no? One day before a game and neither team has announced a starting pitcher? Carrie Muskat says she knows who it might be:

That's possible. (The 10-day rule in the minors doesn't apply to Dallas Beeler, since his recall to start one of the doubleheader games last week was as the 26th man.) Or... could the Cubs complete a trade for a starting pitcher by tomorrow?

Anyway, Jorge De La Rosa is a decent pitcher, but so is Kyle Hendricks, and Hendricks has been better this year. Eddie Butler hasn't been good this year (look at that WHIP!) and Jon Lester has started to get in a zone.

The Cubs should win this series. Hopefully "should" turns into "will" by Wednesday afternoon, if not before.

Up next

The Cubs head to Miller Park to take on the Brewers in a four-game set starting Thursday evening.