Cubs @ Rockies: Series Preview (4/20-4/22)

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The Cubs find themselves at 8-8 after going 3-4 on their weather ravaged seven-game home swing. Chicago's play has been as inconsistent as that .500 record indicates. They have been shutout four times so far this young season, yet they have also scored eight or more runs six times.

Offense will be important as the Cubs head to Denver to battle the Rockies at the launch-pad that is Coors Field. After a 5-7 start, Colorado has won six of eight to move two games over .500 at 11-9. Charlie Blackmon has the power stroke working early with seven homers, only one behind league leader Bryce Harper. Wade Davis (remember him...Pepperidge Farms remembers) has saved 8 of the 11 Rockies wins this season.

Javy Baez has been a slugging machine so far in 2018, his OPS is over 1,000 the first three weeks of the year. Kyle Schwarber for his part is starting to go to the opposite field with some regularity, which is a very encouraging sign. Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana are looking to rebound from two bad games against the Braves.

Watch/Listen

Friday: 7:40 pm CT on WGN/670AM

Saturday: 7:10 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Sunday: 2:10 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago/670AM

Lineups

Cubs

  1. Albert Almora (R) CF
  2. Javier Baez (R) 2B
  3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
  4. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
  5. Willson Contreras (R) C
  6. Kyle Schwarber (L) LF
  7. Addison Russell (R) SS
  8. Jason Heyward (L) RF
  9. Kyle Hendricks (R) P

Rockies

  1. DJ LaMahieu (R) 2B
  2. Chris Iannetta (R) C
  3. Charlie Blackmon (L) CF
  4. Nolan Arenado (R) 3B
  5. Gerardo Parra (L) RF
  6. Trevor Story (R) SS
  7. Ian Desmond (R) LF
  8. Ryan McMahon (L) 1B
  9. Jon Gray (R) P

Bullpen Usage

 

via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers

Scouting Reports from Brooks Baseball.

Jon GrayJon Gray has thrown 5,983 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2014 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (96mph) and Slider (90mph), also mixing in a Curve (81mph).
His fourseam fastball has some natural sinking action, has well above average velo and results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers. His slider is thrown extremely hard, is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders, has less than expected depth and has primarily 12-6 movement. His curve generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' curves, is slightly harder than usual, has primarily 12-6 movement and results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves.

Sean's Thoughts: Gray had a very good season in 2017 and is the Rockies number one starter. He had a rough start to the year allowing 12 runs his first two starts. Gray, who almost was drafted by the Cubs in 2013, has excellent stuff and should right the ship soon.

Tyler AndersonTyler Anderson has thrown 3,791 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season, the MLB Postseason and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (92mph), Change (82mph) and Cutter (88mph), also mixing in a Sinker (91mph). He also rarely throws a Curve (75mph).

His fourseam fastball generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has essentially average velo, has slightly less natural movement than typical and has some added backspin. His change generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has slight cut action and has a lot of backspin. His cutter has extreme cut action, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' cutters and has slightly above average velo. His sinker generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has little sinking action compared to a true sinker. His curve (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 15 of them in 2018) generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' curves, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' curves and has a sharp downward bite.

Sean's Thoughts: Anderson has walked 12 batters his first four starts of the season. The left hander does significantly worse against right handed batters, who hit 40 points higher off of him than lefties.

German MarquezGerman Marquez has thrown 3,527 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2016 and 2018, including pitches thrown in the MLB Regular Season and Spring Training. In 2018, he has relied primarily on his Fourseam Fastball (96mph) and Curve (80mph), also mixing in a Sinker (94mph), Slider (86mph) and Change (86mph).

His fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has well above average velo, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly less natural movement than typical. His curve is slightly harder than usual and has primarily 12-6 movement. His sinker has slightly above average velo. His slider has primarily 12-6 movement. His change (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 19 of them in 2018) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in more flyballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and is slightly firmer than usual.

Sean's Thoughts: Marquez beat the Cubs at Coors last year in 8 shutout innings. His strike out rates are very low, he gets a lot of ground ball contact. Trying to elevate the ball in the thin air would be helpful.

 

Comments

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  • Finally get warmer weather and clear blue skies in Chicago, so we travel to Denver where it's cold and raining. Is Mother Nature no longer a Cubs fan?

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    Ha ha! We were just talking about this at my daughter’s softball game today.

  • As long as its not rainin’ fire in the sky.

  • In reply to Cubswin09:

    Good call, but I'm more of a Joe Walsh "Rocky Mountain Way" kind of guy.

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    Silly me--I wanted the Cubs to draft Gray instead of KB. That shows you my baseball acumen.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    You weren't alone because at the time they had a lot more position prospects than starting pitchers. Both guys have turned out better than Mark Appel, though.

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    I had a small comment delayed just now. thanks.

  • Maddon playing the same starting 8 back to back days? Anyone else see the pigs fly?

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Reminds me of a song...

    “Big man, pig man.
    Ha, ha, charade you are...
    Well heeled Big wheel, Ha, Ha charade you are...

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    Admin got my response... Reminded me of a Pink Floyd song.

  • Kinda OT, but is anyone following the Matt Harvey/Mickey Callaway soap opera in NY? What a horrible situation with all the public jabs and counter-punches. Makes me love the Cubs organization even more.

    #notgonnaendwell

  • Nice lineup, Joe. ;) Where did you come up that one?

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    in the 2013 draft:
    Appel
    KB
    Gray
    Kohl Stewart
    Clint Frazier
    Colin Moran
    Trey Ball, etc
    Only KB and Gray have reached the majors. This is really a crapshoot, and as I said in my disappeared comment, I wanted Gray instead of KB. That shows you what I know.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Stick to pecan pie, Jonathan. :)

    I'll never forget that draft. When it came time to announce the Cubs' pick at #2, there was some odd delay, and what looked like confusion on the stage. I was thinking "What's happening? Did we just trade our pick? Of course not, this is baseball."

    We took Bryant, and all is right with the world.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Colin Moran is the Pirates starting 3rd baseman and Clint Frazier made the majors last year with the Yankees.

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    In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    How did I miss that? Good catch.
    Thank you Joe in keeping the same lineup. 2 pitches and 2 runs. Keep the line moving.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Reading about the Cubs drafts from 2012-2014 all three guys were picked because of their "interview" with the team. Bryant impressed them with his poise. Almora with his desire to do anything he could to help the team win. Interestingly, in "The Cubs Way" Verducci lists among the things Almora thought he would contribute was baserunning. And he went on to score the go ahead run in Game 7. Schwarber's "violent" objections to being told that some people said he couldn't catch in the majors.

    My point is that they don't necessarily use "the eye-ball test" or any particular performance metric to make the final decision among 2-3 players. THAT decision is made with the ultimate "proprietary information." A personal conversation.

  • Baez is on fire right now

  • In reply to bolla:

    He sucks. He strikes out way too much. Trade him and keep Soler.

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    lol

  • Way to go Oppo Javy!!!

  • El Mago.

  • Alright alright alright, Javy looks like the light bulb is starting to glimmer. Got to give credit where due.

  • In reply to cubbustible:

    "Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun,
    But Mama...
    That's where the fun is."

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    At the play at 3B, I think Javy said, 'No local yokel's gonna shut me down
    Cause me and the buys got our rig unwound'

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    Just got home. Heard Javy is still at it and Addy doesn't even know how to take a lead

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Albert A is also 2-2 leading off.

  • I just don't know what to say anymore.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    "I wish John could have shared this with us."

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Amen.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Glorious.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh he's watching and loving every moment of it.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    I was actually very careful in my phrasing not to imply he isn’t watching :)

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    I'm going to make a crazy prediction: however much Bryce Harper earns this winter, Javy is going to break that record when he goes out.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'll give you 3-1.....thats how ridiculous that is.

  • This is such to joy to watch.I'm so proud of baez

  • In reply to bolla:

    I will ask you again, have you come around on Schwarber? :-)

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    There is plenty of room on the Schwarber train.

  • That was not smart play at all by story.It would of been 2 outs if he goes to 1st, he better pray rizzo hits into a dp

  • Does it seem like WGN is always having a problem with their pitchtrax?

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    This is what aggressive baseball looks like, but in an intelligent way. Those were bad throws from the Rockies, but except for Arenado’s they would have to have been spot on to get the out. I trust Javy’s judgement. Actually Len and JD were saying that Javy could be more aggressive.
    He is a joy to watch in all phases of the game.

  • I can't remember the last time we've used the opposite field this much. Bout time.

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    In reply to cubbustible:

    I was just about to say the same thing. Go with the pitch and good things happen. I’m especially impressed with Javy and Schwarbs. Let’s keep scoring, this is Coord field after all. A Rocky Mountain high on 4/20.

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    It appears Almora can hit right handers.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Those were all just favorable matchups, Mike. He's not good enough to just start everyday.

  • El F'ckig Mago!

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    He could hit a BB right now.

  • The most important thing about tonight so far...............have you seen how many of the hits have gone to CF or the opposite field? It's bringing a tear to my eye !!!!

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    There's no crying in baseball!

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    Yea Pitchcast is back.

  • These guys are stringing together hits like we haven't seen in eons. Awesome.

  • But heck, I'll take the three-run homer too!

  • In reply to seattlecub:

    Schwarber said, “ok”

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    He sucks. He strikes out too much. Trade him and keep Alcantera

  • Javy made an out.

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    And Rizzo, Addy, and Heyward didn’t. I believe the brimstone drizzle starts in 20 minutes.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Poor Rizzo. Hope he gets a shot to get a knock in the 9th

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    I think he just wanted to see if we were paying attention.

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    Thank you Willy, Addy, Heyward, and Schwarbenator cuz now Javy gets 1 more AB to get that TRIPLE

  • 12 run lead and I'm still nervous when justin wilson is in the game

  • Done with Justin Wilson. We've all seen enough. Too much. He's a wreck.

  • In reply to JohnCC:

    Induced a DP & struck out last guy....

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    After giving up a lead off double,walking 2 batters,throwing a wild pitch then loading the bases in a non pressure low leverage situation. Wilson is garbage

  • It's in the bag.

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