Series Preview: Cubs at Rockies, April 20 - April 22, 2018

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Series Preview: Cubs at Rockies, April 20 – April 22, 2018

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are briefly hitting the road for a three game set against the Rockies this weekend, and then a short two-gamer against the Indians after an off-day on Monday.

After that, they’ll return to Wrigley Field for four against the Brewers and three more against these Rockies, on their own turf. None of those teams are particularly weak (and that stretch is followed by a three-game set in St. Louis), so now would be the time for the Cubs to turn it on, so to speak. Particularly, the starting pitchers.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (8-8), if you can believe it, have actually lost only one series this year (to the Pirates). They’ve either won (3-1 vs. Brewers), split (2-2 vs. Marlins) or didn’t finish (Cardinals, Reds, Braves) their other series. It’s just three games, but three wins (or losses) would certainly change the early-season narrative quite a bit.

The Colorado Rockies (11-9), meanwhile, just beat the Pirates and Nationals in back-to-back series, after losing to the Padres and Braves in back-to-back three game sets. Baseball can be so strange. They’re currently in second place of the NL West.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Friday, April 20 at 7:40 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
  • Saturday, April 21 at 7:10 on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, April 22 at 2:10 on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Kyle Hendricks (3.71 ERA, 6.07 FIP; 1.86 K/BB)
  • Yu Darvish (6.00 ERA, 5.27 FIP; 2.43 K/BB)
  • Jose Quintana (8.16 ERA, 4.88 FIP; 0.90 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – Javy Baez
  • 3B – Kris Bryant
  • SS – Addison Russell
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
  • CF – Ian Happ/Albert Almora/Jason Heyward
  • RF – Jason Heyward/Ben Zobrist

Colorado Rockies

Probable Pitchers:

  • Jon Gray (6.23 ERA, 3.64 FIP; 4.60 K/BB)
  • Tim Anderson (4.74 ERA, 4.87 FIP; 1.75 K/BB)
  • German Marquez (4.34 ERA, 4.20 FIP; 1.33 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Chris Iannetta
  • 1B – Ryan McMahon
  • 2B – DJ LeMahieu
  • 3B – Nolan Arenado
  • SS – Trevor Story
  • LF – Ian Desmond
  • CF – Charlie Blackmon
  • RF – Carlos Gonzalez

Keep an Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Yu Darvish might not be the best pitcher to start in Colorado, given that his career 41.3% ground ball rate is 13th lowest in MLB since 2012 among pitchers with at least 800 innings pitched. Obviously, the abundance of soft-contact (23.3%) and lack of hard contact (27.9%) both look good through his first three starts with the Cubs this season, but hopefully he can still find a way to keep things on the ground. And also command his pitches well enough to load up on strikeouts.

Cubs Player: Javy Baez is hard not to discuss. He’s currently working on a three game hit-streak, featuring six total hits (1 homer, 1 triple, 2 doubles, and two singles), six RBI, and four runs scored. He’s also struck out just twice during that stretch, and might actually be turning a big corner at just the right time.

Rockies PitcherJon Gray is the pitcher the Cubs *plausibly could have taken* instead of Kris Bryant in the 2013 June Amateur Draft. Instead, the Rockies got him with the next pick. Now, to be fair, Gray has two 3.0+ WAR seasons under his belt already, so he was decidedly NOT a bad pick, but I think we’re all happy with the direction the Cubs went. With that in mind, Gray has had four starts this season, three of which have been pretty terrible, one of which was an absolute gem (7.0 IP, 4H, 0BB, 7Ks). He’s more than capable. Don’t sleep on him.

Rockies PlayerNolan Arenado is off to a fine start this year (114 wRC+). I mean it’s not great (Kris Bryant has a 181 wRC+), but it’s fine. Reminder: Arenado just finished serving a five-game suspension, and is returning to the field for the first time since April 13.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami