The Chicago Cubs have had their backs against the wall plenty of times, but in a season full of adversity, this time feels particularly tough as they will take on the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game.
The Cubs, who lost a divisional tiebreaker game to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday, will get to host the Rockies at Wrigley Field after Colorado lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday in a division tiebreaker game of their own.
That means the Rockies have to fly across the country to get to Chicago late Monday, giving the Cubs a bit of an advantage.
In terms of the team’s regular season numbers against one another, you can essentially throw them out. These teams haven’t played against one another since May 2, with the Cubs taking two of three in Denver, and the Rockies taking two of three at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs outscored the Rockies 27-17 at Coors, and were outscored 16-6 at Wrigley, meaning the teams each scored 33 runs in the season series and split that series with three wins apiece.
Even though the series happened five months ago, the Cubs still can take some solace from how well some of their biggest stars hit against the Rockies. Javier Baez went 8-for-24 with three doubles, a pair of home runs, and seven RBI in the season series, and despite hitting under .200 against them this season, Anthony Rizzo scored five runs and hit a pair of long balls against the team.
The Rockies will counter with one of baseball’s most explosive offenses, led by third baseman Nolan Arenado. The talented slugger went 12-for-26 against the Cubs this season, launching a staggering five home runs and driving in 11 RBI in just six games.
Charlie Blackmon scored eight runs against the Cubs in the six games, posting a .536 on-base percentage and driving in five runs to help the Rockies’ offense.
The Cubs will hope to keep those two in check, and to do so they will turn to pitcher Jon Lester, who will get the ball for the Wild Card Game. Lester, a renowned postseason performer, has been surging as of late, going 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA in five September games this season.
The Rockies have yet to announce a starter against the Cubs, but with Jon Gray and German Marquez unavailable, they will likely turn to Antonio Senzaleta for the big game Tuesday. The right-hander has a 2-1 record and a 3.25 ERA in the month of September, but has allowed batters a .271 batting average and four home runs in 27.2 innings of work.
The Cubs and Rockies will get things underway at 7 p.m. at Wrigley Field Tuesday night. The game will air on ESPN.