Preview: Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs
In their seven-game road trip which ended on Wednesday, the North Side (47-76) has lost three out of four in Cincinnati and was swept three games by the Brewers.
On Friday, they will kick off a ten-game homestand starting with the three contests against the visiting Colorado Rockies (50-73). Playing at Wrigley Field is better than going on the road. They swept the Houston Astros in their last homestand to improve their home record to 30-28.
Although the Cubs are over .500 at home (30-28), they are 5-11 against teams from the NL West. The Rockies will make their first visit of the year at Wrigley Field as both teams will play their first series of the year this weekend.
The Cubs keep going South with 39 games remaining in their disappointing season. They were outscored 28-41 in their seven road games and were struck out 37 times in Milwaukee.
Having played his 50th game of the season Wednesday, Anthony Rizzo’s number is declining; the first baseman only batted for .244 with a single home run and seven RBIs in August, comparing to .330 with seven dingers and 17 RBIs last month.
On Wednesday against the Brewers, David DeJesus and Bryan LaHair both homered off Yovani Gallardo but starter Travis Wood gave up three runs to the Brewers, including the game-winning solo home run to Ryan Braun.
Alfonso Soriano was given a day off Wednesday and should be ready to go on Friday. He has eight dingers and 22 RBIs in career facing the Rockies.
Jeff Samardzijia (8-11, 4.17) will start the game on the mound for the Cubs. The Cubs ace has been suffering this month going 1-3 with an ERA of 4.07. His only victory in August came against the Astros at home on August 13.
The right-hander’s last outing was a short affair; he only tossed five innings in Cincinnati giving up four runs including three home runs in the Cubs’ 5-3 defeat.
Friday’s start will be his first against the Rockies. He faced the opponents as reliever four times in his career allowing two runs in nine innings.
The Rockies will be behind starter Drew Pomeranz (1-7, 4.87) who went winless in his last seven starts (four losses). In August, he went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Endurance could a question for the lefty; he was relieved after four innings pitched in each of his starts in August. The latest one was last Sunday when he allowed two runs (one earned) for a no-decision facing the Miami Marlins at home.
In his second year in the Major League, the southpaw will see the Cubs for the first time Friday.
Having similar records as the Cubs, the Rockies are out of contention sitting at the last place of the National League West with 19 games separating them and the leaders, the San Francisco Giants.
Chicago is their last stop of their red hot seven-game road trip. They swept the Mets in New York and are on a five-game winning streak. On Thursday afternoon, ex-Cub Tyler Colvin scored the winning run on Chris Nelson’s single to break the scoreless deadlock in the eighth inning to beat the Mets 1-0 and to complete the sweep.
Injury is a major factor of their failure this season. Key players such as Michael Cuddyer, Todd Helton, Jonathan Sanchez, and Troy Tulowitzki are bothered by injuries and are on the disabled list. Outfielder Dexter Fowler and shortstop Joshua Rutledge are both tentative for the weekend series. Fowler left Wednesday’s game with a sprained right ankle. Rutledge is questionable to start with problem to his quadriceps but he pinch-hit on Thursday.
Left-fielder Carlos Gonzalez leads the team in batting average (.317) and in RBIs (79). He hit .464 with four home runs and 11 RBI in career facing the Cubs. Catcher Wilie Rosario hit the club-leading 20th home run off the Mets reliever Ramon Ramirez Wednesday night.
Patrick Au Yeung