Thursday is the series finale between the Colorado Rockies and the Chicago Cubs from the historic Wrigley Field. Chicago will be going for the sweep on Colorado and trying to extend its lead atop the National League Central. At 33-26, the Cubs are in a good spot so far this season. With that, they still have reinforcements on the way.
Late Wednesday night it was reported by ESPN that Craig Kimbrel has signed on with the Cubs for three years and $45 million. This was much needed, as the Cubs are tied for third in the league in blown saves with 11. This is a terrific sign for Chicago since Kimbrel has a career 1.54 ERA against NL Central opponents.
For Chicago, it’ll be lefty Jose Quintana. Quintana has been a pleasant surprise so far this season for the Cubs at 4-4 with a 3.78 ERA. Though he hasn’t gotten a win since May 5, he has gone at least five innings with three or fewer earned runs eight of his last nine starts (last start not included as it was shortened by rain).
A big reason for Quintana’s success this season is that he is limiting his walks given out as well as his home runs given up. His BB/9 has gone down from 3.51 to 2.71 since last year, and his K:BB has gone up from 2.32 to 3.10. If you take out Quintana’s horrid April start against the Brewers, he has only given up five home runs in 11 games. Another good sign for the Cubs is Quintana’s numbers at home. He is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA inside Wrigley Field.
For Colorado, it’ll be rookie Peter Lambert getting the ball. The Rockies want to give Jon Gray some more rest to recover from a blister. Lambert was the Rockies’ second-round pick in 2015 and has been in their farm system ever since.
So far in 2019, Lambert has made 11 starts for the Rockies AAA team. He is 2-2 with a 5.07 ERA. While Lambert finished 2018 with 11 straight shutout innings, he hasn’t necessarily carried over that success to 2019. He has only had five starts where he has given up three runs or less.
Hitters To Watch
Trevor Story has been on an absolute tear as of late. Over his last seven games, he’s batting .440 with a pair of home runs and seven RBI. Daniel Murphy is also hot for the Rockies, batting over .400 in his last seven games.
There isn’t any kind of past experience for the Cubs hitters off of Lambert since this is his MLB debut. However, one thing to note is Anthony Rizzo absolutely RAKES at home against right-handed pitching. On the season, he’s hitting .333 with six home runs and 21 RBI. Javier Baez is in the same boat with that split, hitting .340 with six home runs and 19 RBI. Lambert’s success in his MLB debut very well could depend on how he limits these two hitters.
The Cubs have the second-best home record in the National League behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jose Quintana has been solid, and the Rockies are throwing out a rookie for his first start in Wrigley Field. This has the writings for a Chicago sweep. Take the Cubbies.
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