This is a rematch of of last Wednesday’s game at Wrigley, the one in which news of Craig Kimbrel‘s signing motivated the Cubs to jump on the Rockies and starter German Márquez. They got to him despite drawing only one walk, making lots of hard contact in the process and exploding for eight runs after going scoreless through four innings.
Now the Cubs get another crack, this time at altitude. Kyle Schwarber leads off in left, Kris Bryant is at third base, Anthony Rizzo is at first, and Javy Báez cleans up. Carlos González is in right, Victor Caratini is back catching Yu Darvish, Jason Heyward is in center, and David Bote is batting last at second.
This start marks CarGo’s return to Colorado, so maybe some of that old magic will return. Schwarber has been crushing lately, and bote’s homer against Márquez opened things up last week, all good signs when it comes to playing in a hitter-friendly park.
Don’t let that last outing fool you, Márquez has the stuff to shut any team down. He brings the power with a 95-96 mph four-seam/sinker combo, then offsets it with a decent slider an excellent curve that gets tons of whiffs and grounders. He’s got 88 strikeouts to just 18 walks, so this isn’t one of those games where patience is likely to pay off.
Márquez had only given up 10 earned runs in 43.1 road innings (2.08 ERA) prior to last Wednesday, but he’s allowed 23 earned in 42 innings at Coors Field (4.93). He strikes out fewer batters, walks more, and gives up a lot more line drives. It’s a little odd that he allows less hard contact and fewer fly balls, but his stuff simply doesn’t play as well in the thin air.
So here’s the deal: Márquez will give up hits. Opponents have racked up at least six knocks against him in each of his seven home starts, for a total of 55 hits in those 42 innings. The Cubs should be salivating seeing those numbers, though, again, this is a pitcher who is capable of dominating any opponent on any given night.
Darvish will be taking the bump for the Cubs and you have to wonder what he’s going to bring to the table. The righty has shown signs of coming around, but has yet to really have that breakthrough stretch in which he consistently puts it together across two or more starts. He’s only appeared at Coors once before, his sixth Cubs start last season, so there’s less than nothing to take away from that.
You almost wonder if the atmosphere that can blunt the effectiveness of some pitchers’ stuff might actually play a little bit in Darvish’s favor. Which is to say that perhaps he’ll generate a little less movement, thereby keeping his pitches a little more tightly located. Then again, the four-seamer with which he’s had such a difficult time this season isn’t going to suddenly find the zone due to altitude.
If, however, the Cubs can again jump on their opponent and give Darvish an early cushion, he may be better able to settle in and take care of business.
First pitch from Denver is at 7:40pm CT and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago or heard on 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 10, 2019