Series Preview: Cubs at Rockies, August 3 - August 5, 2021

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Series Preview: Cubs at Rockies, August 3 – August 5, 2021

Chicago Cubs

I asked, and it turns out the Cubs actually do have to finish out the entire season, even after trading everyone. No, I know. I know. They said there’s nothing they can do. 

There’s two months (and 18 series) left in the Cubs 2021 season. This three-game set against the Rockies will be the first of six games against Colorado before the end of the year. But even if this late-night, bottom-feeding matchup doesn’t grab your attention in early August, the next seven games will. Starting Friday, the Cubs are playing three against the Chicago White Sox followed by four against the Milwaukee Brewers.

There’s still plenty of development to enjoy (Justin Steele could be here any day and Keegan Thompson can’t be far behind, Patrick Wisdom is striking out less, Alec Mills has improved), and there are still some games I want to win, too.

Come on, Cubs. Give us something to root for.

We’re Going Streaking

After losing six of their last ten, the Chicago Cubs (51-56) are at a season-low five games under .500. Meanwhile, the Colorado Rockies (46-60) are 14 games under .500, which is actually two BETTER than their low-point for the year! Good for them!

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Tuesday, August 3rd at 7:40 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Wednesday, August 4th at 7:40 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Thursday, August 5th at 2:10 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Zach Davies (R) vs. Kyle Freeland (L)
Game 2: Alec Mills (R) vs. Jon Gray (R)
Game 3: Jake Arrieta (R) vs. TBD

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Patrick Wisdom
•   2B – David Bote
•   3B – Matt Duffy
•   SS – Sergio Alcantara
•   LF – Ian Happ
•   CF – Rafael Ortega
•   RF – Jason Heyward

Unavailable: Dillon Maples, Nico Hoerner, Rowan Wick, Jonathan Holder, Austin Romine, Nick Madrigal, Jose Lobaton, P.J. Higgins, Kohl Stewart, Brad Wieck

Colorado Rockies

•   C – Elias Diaz
•   1B – C.J. Cron
•   2B – Brendan Rodgers
•   3B – Ryan McMahon
•   SS – Trevor Story
•   LF – Connor Joe
•   CF – Sam Hillard
•   RF – Charlie Blackmon

Unavailable: Yency Almonte, Antonio Senzatela, Chi Chi Gonzalez, Robert Stephenson, Chris Owings, Peter Lambert, Scott Oberg, Jordan Sheffield

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: -31
Rockies: -57

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.21
Rockies: 4.33

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.50
Rockies: 4.87

Keep An Eye Out For …

Patrick Wisdom has been cutting down on the strikeouts lately, but still producing. Since July 6th, he’s slashing .275/.351/.522 (131 wRC+) and his strikeout rate is down to 32.1%, continuing a trend in the right direction since his peak a few weeks ago.

Jason Heyward. Since the All-Star break (51 PAs), Jason Heyward is slashing .140/.157/.240, which is good for a 4 wRC+. Four. He has been 96% worse than the league average hitter over his last 51 PAs. And offensively, this season (63 wRC+) has been worse than his first season with the Cubs … by quite a bit (72 wRC+).

Alec Mills. Since joining the rotation on June 15th, Alec Mills has made 8 starts totaling 39.2 innings pitched. During that time, he’s got a 3.63 ERA (3.43 FIP). And although he’s not striking many batters out (18.7%), he is limiting the free passes (5.8%) and really succeeding at keeping the ball on the ground (55.6 GB%).

And although lefties are still hitting him well (.220/.333/.403; .324 wOBA), it’s been a huge improvement over last season: .275/.338/.551; .374 wOBA. If he’s made some improvements there, he could be a legitimate rotation piece for next season. Back of the rotation, sure, but in the rotation if there’s room.

Rafael Ortega just cracks me up.

Author: Michael Cerami

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