GAMETIMES: 7:40pm Friday, 7:10pm Saturday, 3:10 Sunday
TV: CSN Friday and Saturday, ABC 7 Sunday
THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU’RE DEAD: Purple Row
Montgomery v. TBD
The Cubs take the world’s best baseball show into the highlands this weekend, or to be more accurate the foothills before the highlands. It’s going to be three days of weird baseball, because there’s really any other kind at Coors Field. They’ll be doing it a little shorthanded.
Before getting to the Rockies, the Cubs have some news. Both Hector Rondon and John Lackey went on the DL today, and it feels a little like the Cubs cashing in on their lead in both division and league. That’s what they’re selling at least. Both Rondon and Lackey probably don’t have to go onto the DL, but it’s not going to cost the Cubs much given where they are. Rob Zastrynzy and Felix Pena have been called up, and Pena especially has been something of a monster in Iowa so far with a 4-to-1 K/BB rate and a 1.09 WHIP. Worth a look-see.
It’s obviously a little worrying about Rondon, because we know the Cubs are buffeted in case Lackey is never right with four other starters. Without Rondon and Strop the back end of the pen looks pretty shaky. Ideally, they’re both back in September and rested and firing pellets by the time October rolls around. Worst case… well, let’s not talk about it just yet. Not worth thinking about at this time, if only because we have things we’d like to do this weekend instead of drink alone in the dark.
Right, to the Rockies. They found themselves poised on the very fringes of the wild card race at the trade deadline. No one thought they had a realistic shot at it, except for them themselves. So they didn’t sell of Carlos Gonzalez, or Charlie Blackmon, or a couple relievers that they might have gotten something back for. And as we’ve seen numerous times, once the deadline passed this team backed up in a hurry. They’ve gone 6-10 in August, including an ugly sweep at the hands of the Phillies and are now a pretty unrecoverable 6.5 games back of the Card for the second coin-flip spot, with three other teams to pass. It ain’t happening.
If you squint though, there are signs that the Rockies might have a core in place to be notable in the near future. Jon Gray is having a rough August, but put up three months where he came close to justifying his top three pick place. He’s hit a wall as one does in their first full trip around the majors, but he has hinted at a lot of promise. Tyler Anderson, who will start the series, is another who looks like he might come to grips with pitching in the Sea of Green that is their home park. Tyler Chatwood, and he don’t care, has returned from injury hell to provide another option.
In the field, Nolan Arenado at third is a genuine candidate to finish third in the MVP voting behind Bryzzo. Trevor Story, before wrecking his thumb and ending his season, was making short his own for the next decade. Somehow, DJ LeMahieu keeps hitting, though really only at home. David Dahl is now up to man left. Dare we say the Rockies might have a plan? No, couldn’t be.
Ok, the bullpen has problems because when Bone Loogan or Boone Logan is taking the important innings in games for you, you are an unfortunate unit. But that’s always the last to come around. Adam Ottavino is having one of those weird reliever years, though can’t stay healthy either. Carlos Estevez strikes a lot of people out but also walks a lot of people too.
The Cubs don’t want to get into any arena football here, though sometimes that’s hard to avoid. The Rockies can bash with anyone, and weird shit just happens in Denver. There’s always one game that goes 13-9 or someone hits six home runs in an inning or something even weirder. Block out a lot of time for these, they won’t be over quickly given the lineups on display.