Cubs vs. Rockies Series Preview (June 4-6): TV and Game Info, Starting Pitchers, Insights
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a week of light, it was a week of darkness. I can’t verify that Dickens was referencing this week’s matchup between the Cubs and Rockies, but I can’t rule it out either. Because as we enter Tuesday’s opening game of this series, it really is a tale of two teams.
While the Cubs are in the midst of one of the most difficult stretches of their season, the Rockies enter as one of baseball’s hottest teams. Winners of eight in a row, the Blake Street Bombers have fought their way back to relevance over the last week. While a division crown appears unlikely with the Dodgers already a staggering nine games ahead, the Rockies are right in the thick of contention for a Wild Cart spot, something the Cubs currently hold.
The Rockies have arrived at their winning streak largely by pounding their opponents into submission. Colorado has scored at least five runs in six games during their win streak and have scored considerably more on a couple other occasions.
Their offensive onslaught of late has been led by, who else, Nolan Arenado. Even by his standards, Arenado is on one of late. Over his last 15 games, the perennial All-Star is slashing .441/.500/.780 and still has one of the best gloves in the game at third base. Arenado certainly doesn’t seem content to rest his laurels on his well-earned $260 million contract extension this past offseason.
Trevor Story joins Arenado in having put up strong offensive numbers this season. However, the rest of the lineup has lagged behind in overall production this year. No other regular has an OPS+ of over 100, including former Cub Daniel Murphy, who hasn’t exactly been the answer at first base so far.
After being the team’s major strength last year, the Rox pitching staff has had a bit of a confusing season to this point. Kyle Freeland, the ace of last year’s staff and the author of the Cubs’ early Wild Card exit, has pitched so badly that he’s not even on the major league roster right now. I don’t want to say it’s karma, but I’ll let you say that if you’d like.
The pitching has still been adequate, however, as German Márquez and Jon Gray — both of whom the Cubs will face — have picked up the slack to an extent. The bullpen isn’t as strong as last years and the Cubs will be lucky to miss old friend Wade Davis, who is on the injured list but has rebounded nicely from a rough first season in Colorado.
While you’d love for the Cubs to face an easier team that isn’t quite so scorching hot, that’s not always going to be the way the cookie crumbles. After a much needed win in Monday’s makeup game against the Angels, the Cubs will have to keep it going against a strong Rockies team if they hope to get a new streak going.
Game and broadcast info
- Tuesday, June 4 at 7:05pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Wednesday, June 5 at 7:05pm CT on WGN
- Thursday, June 6 at 1:20pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
What to watch for
- The aforementioned Márquez has been truly excellent so far this season, more than picking up for Freeland’s disappointing campaign. The 24-year-old Venezuelan looks to be a building block that the Rockies can count on for years to come.
- New Cub and three-time All-Star Carlos González will play against his old team for the first time. With three right-handers on the mound, CarGo will probably play quite a bit this series.
- Darvish had what might’ve been his best start as a Cub on Saturday against the Cardinals. He has room for improvement but has been significantly better lately and will look to continue building in the start to come.
- The Cubs were able to break out of a serious offensive funk on Monday and will try to keep it going against some solid Rockies starters.