Series Preview: Rockies at Cubs, April 30 - May 2, 2018

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Series Preview: Rockies at Cubs, April 30 – May 2, 2018

Chicago Cubs

Although they just played each other under two weeks ago, the Cubs and Rockies are at it again, this time at Wrigley Field.

During this series, the Cubs will get to see two of the three pitchers they saw last time (Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray), but will miss German Marquez, whom they blew up for six earned runs on eight hits and one walk in just 3.1 innings earlier this year. He’s also the guy who (inadvertently) beaned Kris Bryant. In his place, the Cubs will see Kyle Freeland, whom we’ll get into more later today in the lineup and pre-gamin posts.

On the flip side, the Rockies will also see two of the same three pitchers from last time (Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish), but they’ll get Jon Lester instead of Jose Quintana this time around.

There’s an off-day on Thursday after this series, followed by a weekend trip to St. Louis for a three-gamer against the Cardinals. So we got some good baseball coming up. Get ready.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (15-10) were just .500 the last time they played the Rockies. But since then, they’ve gone 7-2, including a four-game sweep over the Brewers this weekend. They’re not quite in first place, but they’re just a half game behind the Pirates.

The Colorado Rockies (15-14) just dropped two of three to the Marlins after winning a three-game series against the Padres. They have the same number of wins as the Cubs, but four more losses to go along with it. Indeed, they’re already five games out of first in the NL West – but that division is wonky right now.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Monday, April 30 at 6:05 CT on NBC Sports Chicago, ESPN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, May 1 at 7:05 on WGN, MLBN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, May 2 at 1:20 on NBC Sports Chicago, MLBN (out-of-market only), 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Jon Lester (3.29 ERA, 4.79 FIP; 2.20 K/BB)
  • Kyle Hendricks (3.10 ERA, 4.70 FIP; 3.43 K/BB)
  • Yu Darvish (5.26 ERA, 4.20 FIP; 2.23 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 – Albert Almora/Ian Happ
  • RF – Jason Heyward/Ben Zobrist

Colorado Rockies

Probable Pitchers:

  • Kyle Freeland (4.33 ERA, 4.96 FIP; 2.27 K/BB)
  • Jon Gray (5.79 ERA, 3.55 FIP; 3.89 K/BB)
  • Tyler Anderson (4.10 ERA, 4.25 FIP; 1.87 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Chris Iannetta
  • 1B – Ian Desmond
  • 2B – DJ LeMahieu
  • 3B – Nolan Arenado
  • SS – Trevor Story
  • LF – Gerardo Parra
  • CF – Charlie Blackmon
  • RF – David Dahl*

*Carlos Gonzalez is on the disabled list (hamstring)

Keep an Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Although Jon Lester’s last appearance was a quality start, he didn’t generate nearly enough ground balls or weak contact, while allowing way too many fly balls and too much hard contact. I was glad to see him put two solid starts back-to-back, but he’ll need to improve a bit over his last one for me to feel better about his start of the season.

Cubs Player: Anthony Rizzo is 0 for his last 8 and has reached base just once in his past 15 chances. He’s only struck out once during that stretch and is hitting plenty of line drives and fly balls, but a tiny 15.4% hard-hit rate is dragging him down (he doesn’t have a ton of soft contact either, to be sure, but it’s basically all been medium contact this year, and that’s not gonna cut it). The Cubs really need him to get going.

Rockies PitcherAdam Ottavino has been the most valuable reliever in all of baseball so far (0.8 WAR), thanks to a 0.60 ERA and 0.45 FIP. This season, he’s struck out an ultra-elite 54.9% of the batters he’s faced, while allowing just a 5.9 BB% and .087 batting average overall. The Cubs were hitless and scoreless against him the last two times out (2.0 IP, 0H, 0ER, 1BB, 2Ks) – getting early leads in this series would be wise. The guy is insane.

Rockies PlayerDJ LeMahieu is enjoying an excellent start to the season. After breaking out with his bat back in 2016 (130 wRC+, 4.4 WAR), LeMahieu took a step backwards last year (94 wRC+, 1.9 WAR), but is right back on the horse in 2018 (126 wRC+, 0.8 WAR). Let’s see if the Cubs can’t slow him down. The former Cubs prospect always seems to kill his old team.

Author: Michael Cerami

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