Chicago Cubs: Pitchers will be tested vs. Rockies


After sweeping Brewers, Rockies look to stay hot against the Cubs

The Colorado Rockies are off to a hot start — sweeping the Brewers in three straight games and doing so with their bats.  Right now they are a healthy, and when they are–they can be as dangerous as any team in the National League.

All-Stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez — two of the best all-around players in baseball – now have back-up with Corey Dickerson and Justin Morneau.

This Rockies team will be an early test for the Chicago Cubs pitching staff.

Colorado’s home park can look like a launching pad for hitters, and the Rockies have strong bats to match the Cubs. Pitching will be the key to this series — in which rotation and bullpen can keep the ball in the park.

The first two games of the season for the Cubs will be very different from what they can expect this weekend.  The cold wind at Wrigley Field kept a fair number of balls in play and made the jobs of the pitchers easier.

The Cubs will start Jason Hammel, Kyle Hendricks, and Travis Wood in the three-game series.  All three pitchers were very good in Cactus League play this spring and will have to be even sharper in this weekend’s games.

Hammel in his career at Coors Field has a record of 13-14 with a 4.95 ERA in 45 starts.  Hendricks with only one game at Coors pitched a gem – allowing one earned run in eight innings pitched.  And Wood has two starts in Colorado — both no decisions — holds a 4.15 ERA.

It won’t just be the starters that are tested — the bullpen also will get their work.  While the Cubs only have two games under their belt – the bullpen work has been spot on.  Against the Cardinals the relievers pitched 6.2 innings, giving up only two hits and two walks.

The Rockies staff will face the same challenges.  This three-game set could be just what the Cubs offense needs to get their confidence up.  If they could post a couple of games with multiple home runs, and score double digits — it might give the young hitters the confidence and swagger they need from the rough start they’ve had.

The Cubs capitalizing with runners in scoring position would also be a welcomed sight to see.

I truly think this series will come down to how well the starters can keep the ball in the park.  The Cubs are probably the better team to play long ball, but the Rockies have two of the best hitters in the game with Tulowitzki and Gonzalez and they will make the Cubs pay if the pitchers allow too many walks or the defense plays sloppy.

With a hot Rockies team and this young Cubs team – this should be a fun series to watch and one that could provide plenty of fireworks and runs.