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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Rockies series preview

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Well, this ought to be interesting.

Photo by Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The Cubs had one of the busiest weeks of any team leading up to the trade deadline, sending away eight players on their 26-man active roster.

The Rockies, in a similar position in the standings in their division, did... very little, including keeping free-agent-to-be Trevor Story.

With a detailed look at the Rockies, here’s Samantha Bradfield, managing editor of our SB Nation Rockies site Purple Row.

After trading their All-Star third baseman in the offseason, the Rockies were projected to not do particularly well. Early season projections had them finishing in the basement of the NL West and many projections have them losing 100+ games for the first time in franchise history. PECOTA had them at 60.3-101.7. Now, that was to be expected after losing arguably one of the best players in Rockies history. But they still have Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, so it can’t be all bad, right?

The Rockies are currently 46-60 and are having one of the weirdest seasons in baseball. They are 33-20 at home and 13-40 on the road. They recorded seven road wins in July — more than they recorded in April, May and June combined. For reference, the Texas Rangers (38-67) and Arizona Diamondbacks (33-73) also each have 13 road wins.

On the roster side, the Rockies made no significant moves at the trade deadline. There was a lot of talk around moving Trevor Story and/or Jon Gray, but both are still with the team. Story has said he does not plan to re-sign with the Rockies in the offseason, so it made sense to move him and get some prospects back. Unfortunately, the shortstop was left “confused” and still on the Rockies roster. Story is having an average year at the plate, hitting .241/.313/.429 through 91 games with just 13 homers.

Gray, on the other hand, made it clear that he would like to stay in purple pinstripes, which pretty much immediately pulled him off the trading block. The Rockies did not completely stand pat at the deadline, though. They did trade reliever Mychal Givens to the Reds for a pair of right-handed pitchers (Noah Davis and Case Williams, their 2020 fourth-rounder) and also re-acquired righty journeyman reliever Ashton Goudeau from the Reds for cash considerations. Goudeau has been claimed by the Rockies three times since 2020, and has bounced around the league a number of times in the meantime.

Starting pitching continues to be a strength for the Rockies, as Germán Márquez (9-8, 3.51 ERA) was named as their lone representative to the All-Star Game at Coors Field. Austin Gomber, who was the big piece in the Arenado trade, has performed well in his first year in purple. The lefty has an 8-6 record with a 4.04 ERA through 18 starts — third on the starting staff behind Márquez and Gray (7-6, 3.62). Gomber did go down with a forearm injury in mid-June, but was activated off the IL on July 21.

There have been a few breakout hitters for the Rox, including outfielders Raimel Tapia and Yonathan Daza. Tapia is hitting .289/.342/.388 with five homers in 99 games in 2021, and Daza is hitting .294/.343/.380 with two homers in 81 games. The .294 and .289 averages rank first and second on the active roster, respectively. Tapia also leads the team with 19 stolen bases.

Overall, the Rockies are about the team we expected them to be in the absence of Nolan Arenado and the general lack of clear direction. There are a few bright spots, sure, but overall it’s a bit of a mess in the Mile High City right now.

Fun fact

It has been 783 days since these two teams last played a regular-season game. Since that date, June 12, 2019, the Cubs are 131-131 and the Rockies 108-153.

Probable pitching matchups

Tuesday: Zach Davies, RHP (6-7, 4.39 ERA, 1.509 WHIP, 4.65 FIP) vs. Kyle Freeland, LHP (1-6, 4.52 ERA, 1.476 WHIP, 5.05 FIP)

Wednesday: Alec Mills, RHP (4-4, 4.55 ERA, 1.421 WHIP, 4.39 FIP) vs. Jon Gray, RHP (7-6, 3.62 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 4.28 FIP)

Thursday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (5-10, 6.20 ERA, 1.660 WHIP, 5.95 FIP) vs. TBD

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 7:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Wednesday: 7:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Thursday: 2:10 p.m CT, Marquee Sports Network

Prediction

None of the pitchers listed above has covered himself in glory this season. For a Coors Field series, that could lead to a bunch of 12-11 games.

As noted above, the Rockies have been really good at home this year (33-20, among the best home records in the NL). Meanwhile, the Cubs have been awful on the road (20-35; only the Pirates, Rockies and Diamondbacks have fewer road wins).

Somehow, though, I think the Cubs can win two of these three.

Up next

The Cubs return home to Wrigley Field to host the White Sox in a three-game series beginning Friday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Rockies?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    3
    (10 votes)
  • 20%
    2
    (34 votes)
  • 55%
    1
    (91 votes)
  • 17%
    0
    (29 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now