Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

rockies dingerAfter the Phillies series, I have absolutely no expectations coming into this one. I have hopes, sure. But expectations? A fool’s errand. Always was, I suppose.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs were swept by the Phillies. At home. One of the games was a nightmare blow-it scenario, and the other two were total domination. Before that, the Cubs were lucky to split a four-gamer in Cincinnati. This has not been a good stretch for the Cubs.

The Rockies, meanwhile, just took two of three from those same Reds, including a 17-7 laugher yesterday. At 42-54, they’ve got the second fewest wins in the NL right now. But, well, we saw how well that worked out for the Cubs.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Monday, July 27 at 7:05 CT on CSN+.
  • Tuesday, July 28 at 7:05 CT on CSN+.
  • Wednesday, July 29 at 1:20 CT on WGN-9, MLBN

Or you can watch on

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.


Starters: Kyle Hendricks (3.66 ERA, 3.23 FIP; 4.65 K/BB), TBA, Jon Lester (3.32 ERA, 2.99 FIP; 3.94 K/BB)


  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Kyle Schwarber, C
  3. Kris Bryant, 3B
  4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  5. Jorge Soler, RF
  6. Chris Coghlan, LF
  7. Starlin Castro, SS
  8. Pitcher
  9. Addison Russell, 2B


Starters: Jorge De La Rosa (4.62 ERA, 4.45 FIP; 1.95 K/BB), TBA, TBA


  1. Charlie Blackmon, CF
  2. D.J. LeMahieu, 2B
  3. Troy Tulowitzki, SS
  4. Carlos Gonzalez, RF
  5. Nolan Arenado, 3B
  6. Corey Dickerson, LF
  7. Ben Paulsen, 1B
  8. Nick Hundley, C
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

It just feels wrong to talk up the Cubs too much after that series, though Dexter Fowler and Addison Russell have been playing well of late. Kris Bryant also was close to like four homers this weekend, even if three of them didn’t actually go out, and most of his non-almost-homer plate appearances finished in strikeouts.

Kris Bryant is still a stud, by the way, but it’s been ugly going all the way back to June 18: .176/.286/.370. Then again, some things to consider: as you can see, the walk rate and the power are still there. His BABIP in that stretch is just .229 (do you really see Bryant – with his power and speed – as a .229 BABIP guy?), so there should be some positive regression coming. The part that concerns you, though, is the 32.9% K rate. He’s getting exploited down in the zone, and has had some recent trouble laying off the low junk. I believe in him as a hitter, so I’m not worried, but I do hope he adjusts soon enough to start making an impact in the Cubs’ offense.

The Rockies have a bunch of streaking bats, including call-up Ben Paulsen, who sports a .293/.350/.512 line as a 27-year-old rookie (basically a rookie, anyway).

Each of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez have been sufficiently hot of late that they are now well above average bats on the year, as you’d expect them to be. Sure would be nice if the Rockies would trade them. Today.

If you’re looking for a bright side, it’s that the Rockies have no pitching (but the Cubs’ offense … ), and only Tulowitzki, Nolan Arenado, and Charlie Blackmon have been above average bats on the road.

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