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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Rockies series preview

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Perhaps the Cubs will run into better weather in Denver. (Hint: probably not, based on the forecasts.)

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies are off to a good start this year and enter this series in second place in the N.L. West with an 11-9 record.

I asked Eric Garcia McKinley, managing editor of our SB Nation Rockies site Purple Row, to tell us more about his team.

The Cubs will get the short end of the stick when it comes to who is and is not suspended. Nolan Arenado will be back after serving a five-game suspension for charging the mound last week, and Gerardo Parra will begin serving his suspension for his involvement in the ensuing brawl. Arenado, you may know, is the more serious threat for opponents. The Rockies will welcome his return, too, as the offense hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders. Trevor Story has struck out about 35 percent of the time, and Carlos González and Ian Desmond are simply not getting on base. Along with Arenado, Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu, who’s found power nobody knew he had, are the hitters to fear most.

The Cubs will get the Rockies three best starting pitchers in Jon Gray, Tyler Anderson, and Germán Márquez. Gray is easily the best of those three; his fastball/slider combo is delicious. Anderson, a lefty, has a delivery somewhat reminiscent of Clayton Kershaw. The Rockies got Márquez from the Rays for Corey Dickerson a couple of years ago, and he emerged as a rotation stalwart in 2017.

If I were facing Colorado, I wouldn’t want to be behind in the seventh inning. The bullpen is for real. Jake McGee and Bryan Shaw form a nice right-lefty combo in mid-to late innings. Former Cub Chris Rusin has also become a favorite for his uncanny ability to thrown seemingly normal stuff and just get batters out (his quick pitches are really fun, too). Those guys are all there to set up the real shutdown relievers, Adam Ottavino and your old friend Wade Davis. Ottavino has been particularly nasty, as she’s struck out 22 of the 34 batters he’s faced.

In all, the Rockies are a decently rounded team with a lot of talent, but some real shortcomings.

Fun fact

This is one of those not-so-fun facts. The Rockies have been a tough opponent for the Cubs, even over the Cubs’ last three postseason years. From 2015-17 the Cubs are just 8-11 vs. the Rox, and 4-5 at Coors Field. All-time, the Cubs are 38-48 at Coors since it opened in 1995.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (0-1, 3.71 ERA, 1.471 WHIP, 5.99 FIP) vs. Jon Gray, RHP (1-3, 6.23 ERA, 1.523 WHIP, 3.56 FIP)

Saturday: Yu Darvish, RHP (0-1, 6.00 ERA, 1.533 WHIP, 5.18 FIP) vs. Tyler Anderson, LHP (0-0, 4.74 ERA, 1.579 WHIP, 4.79 FIP)

Sunday: Jose Quintana, LHP (1-1, 8.16 ERA, 1.814 WHIP, 4.80 FIP) vs. German Marquez, RHP (1-1, 4.34 ERA, 1.393 WHIP, 4.12 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 7:40 p.m. CT, WGN

Saturday: 7:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Sunday: 2:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago

Prediction

Yikes. I keep picking two of three. The Cubs’ poor record in Coors Field would seem to mitigate against two of three here, but the Cubs won two of three in Denver as recently as 2016. Those pitching matchups would seem to portend a high-scoring series. I’ll say the Cubs bats come to life and they win ... two of three. And then there’s the weather forecast, which could force a postponement Friday.

Up next

The Cubs have Monday off, then travel to Cleveland to face the Indians in a two-game series. Except for spring training, this will be the first time the Cubs will play the Indians since Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Rockies?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    3
    (40 votes)
  • 34%
    2
    (90 votes)
  • 43%
    1
    (113 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (16 votes)
259 votes total Vote Now