Can the Colorado Rockies Beat the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday?

Posted by Michael Hunt on Monday,May 8, 2017 11:13, EDT in

The Chicago Cubs might still be the betting favorites to repeat as World Series winners, but they aren’t playing like that currently as they come off a three-game home sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees and now their battered bullpen has to deal with the powerful offense of the Colorado Rockies in the thin air of Denver. The Cubs lost the 3 game series against the Yankees, 0-3. For the Rockies, are coming off a 3 game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, winning the series at 2-1. Can the Cubs get back on track in this series?

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Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies MLB Betting Preview & Analysis

When: Tuesday, May 9, 8:40 PM ET
Where: Coors Field, Denver
Probable pitchers (away/home): John Lackey/Kyle Freeland
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioColorado / Chicago
Opening MLB Lines: Chicago Cubs -127

Why Bet On Chicago?

The Cubs and Yankees played the longest game in baseball this season on Sunday night, a 5-4 Yankees win in 18 innings to complete the three-game sweep. The Cubs had scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth off their former closer, Aroldis Chapman, to extend it. Frankly, the Cubbies would have been better off just losing in nine innings because their bullpen is overworked and Manager Joe Maddon had to use pretty much every reliever he had on Sunday night. Two starting pitchers, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey, had to pinch-hit in the game. The teams combined for a major league-record 48 strikeouts in baseball’s longest game of the season by innings, wrapping up in a tidy 6 hours, 5 minutes.

Chicago nearly had disaster strike when All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo was hit on the forearm by a Chapman fastball to force in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth. Rizzo was clearly hurting the rest of the game but got an X-ray on his arm and it came back negative. Outfielder Jason Heyward was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day with a sore knuckle on his right hand. Addison Russell had a rough night in Sunday’s loss, going 0-for- 6 with three strikeouts. It has been a rough go of it at the plate for him this year, slashing just .228/.291/.366 with two homers and 15 RBI.

It’s Lackey on the mound here. Lackey (2-3, 5.14) John Lackey gave up three runs and nine hits in five innings Thursday against the Phillies. Lackey struck out six and walked none, but he gave up his eighth homer in six starts. It’s the entire explanation for his 5.14 ERA to date. His strikeout rate is exceptional, and he’s actually getting more grounders than usual. However, the flyballs he’s giving up have been going a long way.

The top four Cubs starters — Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Lackey and Kyle Hendricks — all average just fewer than six innings per start. It’s their pitches per start, based on those innings, that is interesting: Lester averages the most, 104.3; Lackey is at 99.2 pitches, followed by Arrieta at 95 and Hendricks at 93.5.

That’s a lot of pitches without completing six innings. No wonder the bullpen is taxed.

Why Bet On Colorado?

The Rockies lead the AL West and are one of the better offensive teams in baseball. They have won three straight series: two over Arizona and one in San Diego.

Colorado has a candidate for NL Comeback Player of the Year in first baseman Mark Reynolds. He went 2-for- 4 with a solo home run in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks Reynolds socked a 445-foot bomb to left-center off Taijuan Walker with one out in the second inning. He has now homered in three consecutive contests and is up to 11 for the season as a whole. The veteran slugger has not hit more than 14 homers in a season since 2014, but should be able to race past that mark with relative ease over the next few weeks. In addition to those 11 dingers, Reynolds is slashing .321/.379/.661 and has driven in 27 runs in 31 games played. He is batting .327 (18-for- 55) with eight home runs and 16 RBI over 15 home games this season.

Entering the Cubs series at 20-12, the Rockies are off to their second-best start through 32 games in franchise history (best: 21-11, 1997). They are first in the National League West, 2.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks.

It’s rookie lefty Kyle Freeland (3-1, 2.65) on the mound. Freeland did not factor into the decision Thursday but lowered his ERA to 2.65 (34.0 IP, 10 ER) after pitching 6.1 innings and allowing one run on three hits against San Diego. It was his third straight quality start, his fourth of the season. He has allowed one run or less in five of his six starts this season. Freeland currently ranks first among Major League starters in groundball rate (65.1%) and sixth in the National League in ERA.

Freeland and Antonio Senzatela’s four quality starts are tied for the most by a Rockie through six career games. Freeland and Senzatela are the only two pitchers in Rockies history to earn three or more wins while maintaining a sub-3.00 ERA within their first five career starts.

Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies MLB Betting Pick: Colorado Rockies

Lackey is winless in three career starts in Denver, giving up 17 earned runs.