UPDATE: The game is officially under a delay of an unannounced length.
Okay, it’s a new week and a new series. Let’s put everything else in the past, shall we?
Tonight, the Chicago Cubs will face the first-place Colorado Rockies in their home ballpark (although there’s hail, the current plan is to play eventually), where they’ve been pretty good this year (9-7), but not quite as good as they’ve been on the road (11-5). The Cubs, on the other hand, have been worse at home (7-9) than they have on the road (9-6) … so, perhaps it’s a perfect storm.
Jake Arrieta takes the mound tonight, after making what was actually his best start (by Game Score) since his first two of the season.
Against the Phillies at Wrigley Field, Arrieta allowed three earned runs in six innings, and continued to show solid command (1 walk) while striking a ton of batters out (7 Ks). As his strikeout rate continues to climb (27.9%) and his walk rate continues to fall (6.1%), I become increasingly more confused by his relatively poor results (4.63 ERA).
A deeper dive is becoming necessary, because his 2017 strikeout rate is actually better than both figures he put up in 2014 (27.2%) and his Cy Young winning 2015 campaign (27.1%). Similarly, his walk rate falls precisely in between his 2014 (6.7%) and 2015 (5.5%) marks, further proving that both of his biggest issues last season are a thing of the past.
To be sure, he’s getting far fewer ground balls this season than he has in the past, and is getting pretty unlucky with his sequencing (69.2 LOB%) and HR/FB ratio, but I’m not convinced that’s everything. After tonight, perhaps, we can reevaluate what’s been going on.
Opposing Arrieta is the Rockies’ young right-hander and rookie Antonio Senzatela (his name is fun to say out loud, give it a go). Through his first six starts in the Majors, Senzatela’s results (2.84 ERA) have far exceeded his peripheral numbers (4.18 FIP). We’ll have to see if that holds up tonight.
As far as splits go, Senzatela has been much better against right handers (.277 wOBA) than left-handers (.309 wOBA), though neither has hit him very well. He’s also, as expected, been a lot better on the road (.284 wOBA) than at home (.302 wOBA).
The Cubs lineup is going to be an exhausted one after last night’s marathon, but maybe the Colorado atmosphere can help them hit a couple balls out of the yard. Even if that’s not happening, though, the best thing they can hope for is a deep start for Arrieta. This bullpen is hurting and could use a breather.
Chicago Cubs (16-15) at Colorado Rockies (20-12) – 7:40 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
Game Thread and Series Preview
Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun today.
Cubs: Jake Arrieta (R): 4.63 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 3.12 xFIP; 4.56 K/BB
Rockies: Antonio Senzatela (R): 2.84 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 4.51 xFIP; 2.50 K/BB
- Charlie Blackmon, CF
- DJ LeMahieu, 2B
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Carlos Gonzalez, RF
- Mark Reynolds, 1B
- Gerrardo Parra, LF
- Trevor Story, SS
- Ryan Hanigan, C
- Antonio Senzatela, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Kris Bryant, RF
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, 2B
- Miguel Montero, C
- Tommy La Stella, 3B
- Javy Baez, SS
- Jake Arrieta, P
- Albert Almora Jr., CF