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Series Preview: Rockies at Cubs, August 23 – August 25, 2021

Chicago Cubs

Well … ask and you shall receive, right?

The Cubs have the fifth worst run differential in MLB and the sixth worst record. I expected (even hoped!) they’d drop a couple games against the Royals this weekend, but I didn’t expect a sweep, including a near-no hitter on Saturday and a total blowout on Sunday. But the losing must go on!

The Rockies are coming to town for three games this week, and they’re also a bottom-ten team in the standings, a handful of games “behind” the Cubs in the reverse standings. With the White Sox coming up this weekend (a Southside series), I’d like to get the additional losing in now before we win all three games against the Sox this weekend. Does that work for everyone? Mmmk. Go Cubs.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (54-72) just lost three in a row to one of the worst teams in baseball at Wrigley Field. They are in sole possession of the 6th pick in the draft with just a two game deficit behind the Marlins. The Colorado Rockies (55-68) are not far behind, however. They’re current set up with the 10th pick in the draft, four games behind the Cubs.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Monday, August 23rd at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Tuesday, August 24th at 7:05 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Wednesday, August 25th at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Antonio Senzatela (R) vs. Kyle Hendricks (R)
Game 2: Germán Márquez (R) vs. Justin Steele (L)
Game 3: Austin Gomber (L) vs. Zach Davies (R)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Robinson Chirinos
•   1B – Frank Schwindel
•   2B – David Bote
•   3B – Patrick Wisdom
•   SS – Matt Duffy(?)
•   LF – Ian Happ
•   CF – Rafael Ortega
•   RF – Jason Heyward

Unavailable: Dillon Maples, Nico Hoerner, Willson Contreras, Adbert Alzolay, Jonathan Holder, Nick Madrigal, Jose Lobaton, P.J. Higgins, Kohl Stewart, Brad Wieck

Colorado Rockies

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

Unavailable: Raimel Tapia, Yonathan Daza, Peter Lambert, Scott Oberg, Jordan Sheffield, Chris Owings

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: -102
Rockies: -36

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.10
Rockies: 4.54

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.91
Rockies: 4.83

Keep An Eye Out For …

Charlie Blackmon is not having a great season overall, but he’s got hits in 7 of his last 8 games and is slashing .308/.347/.474 since June 29th. There’s not much power or OBP at the moment, relative to a pretty high batting average, but that will certainly still play.

CJ Cron just went hitless in back-to-back games, but before that he had 25 hits in the 15 games before that. In August alone, he’s slashing .397/.480/.825 (220 wRC+), which, just wow. Notably, he absolutely DESTROYS left-handed pitching, so Justin Steele might want to pitch around him this week.

Speaking of which … Justin Steele will get his third start this week, having so far allowed 5 earned runs through his first 9.0 innings of work (including 3 HRs, 4BBs, and 6Ks). I tend to feel like he’s looked better than the results, but development was on the menu whether he succeeded immediately or not. Let’s just enjoy the process.

Matt Duffy has a .333 batting average over his last 60 PAs, but a 3.3% walk rate and just one extra base hit (a double) has kind of neutered it a bit (100 wRC+). There’s still a ton of value in a player who can do that, but he needs to be surrounded by more batters that can get on base or hit for power. None of that’s really Duffy’s fault, however, and, hey, the guy has been filling in at shortstop for the first time in years. He’s kind of been a stud.



Author: Michael Cerami

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