For the second straight day, this series works out so that the Cubs will be facing the team I'm previewing as part of a split-squad day, so let's have a closer look at the Rox.
The Rockies led the National League with 737 runs in 2015, and had two 40-homer men (Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez).
Did this help them win? No, it did not. They lost 94 games, the third time in the last four years that's happened.
In the post-steroid era, pitching has become much more important. It's not as if the Rockies don't try to put together a good pitching staff. It might just be that trying to pitch in Denver is just impossible, with that altitude. Rockies pitchers allowed 844 runs last year, dead last in the National League.
Sure, they have a couple of good young pitchers in Jon Gray and Jordan Lyles. Jorge de la Rosa is dependable, if not much more than league average. But I just don't see this team not finishing last in runs allowed again this year, and they'd have to score about 100 more runs in 2016 than they did in 2015 to even come close to .500.
It's doubtful they'll do that. Sure, Arenado is great, a terrific defensive third baseman who's turned into one of the best hitters in the league. CarGo, while not hitting at his peak level, still was very good last year. DJ LeMahieu has, somewhat surprisingly, turned into a very good second baseman. He plays solid defense and hits better than any of us likely thought he would. Charlie Blackmon is a good player, and it's probably better for the Rox that they kept him.
So they'll score lots of runs. They'll give up way more. They'll probably finish last again.
Finally, former Cub Jason Motte is currently listed as the team's closer on their depth chart. That ought to be interesting, especially given that Motte didn't do well when he was briefly Cubs closer around midseason last year. I wish him well. He seems like a good guy and he sure loves clapping along to walk-up music. The rest of Colorado's bullpen is miscellaneous pitchers I think they found discarded at their spring complex.
Last year the Cubs traveled to Denver in April, where Dexter Fowler won a game with a ninth-inning home run. This year, the Rockies will be at Wrigley early in the year, April 15-16-17. Then the Cubs won't see them again for four months, as the annual Cubs trip to Coors Field is August 19-20-21.