The Colorado Rockies face the Chicago Cubs in the National League Wild Card. It took two tie-breaker games to determine the division winners in the NL Central and NL West, with the losers of both games now facing each other in a single-elimination playoff game.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook currently has the Cubs as a -145 favorite to win the NL Wild Card, while the Rockies are a +135 underdog. The Cubs send their ace Jon Lester (18-6) to the mound, while lefty Kyle Freeman (17-7) will pitch for the Rockies.
The Chicago Cubs will host the wild card game after losing the NL Central tie-breaker to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday 3-1. The Colorado Rockies head to Chicago after losing the NL West tie-breaker 5-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs (95-68)
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
When: 8 pm ET
Starting Pitchers: COL Kyle Freeman (17-7, 2.85 ERA) vs. CHI Jon Lester (18-6, 3.32 ERA)
Betting Line: Chicago -145 / Colorado +325
The Chicago Cubs are trying to correct the ship after a brutal collapse down the stretch when they blew a five-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cubs offense struggled in the last month of the season averaging 3.9 runs per game. The Cubs scored one or fewer runs in 10 out of 30 games during that stretch.
The Brewers went on to clinch the NL Central title when the Cubs could only muster up one run in their 3-1 loss.
Javy Baez led the Cubs this season with 34 HR and 111 RBIs. The duo of Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber combined for 52 HRs this season. Rizzo hit a solo HR as the only offense for the Cubs in the tie-breaker game.
For the Wild Card, the Cubs will rely on veteran Jon Lester (18-6, 3.32 ERA). In 25 postseason games, Lester has a career 2.55 ERA in 48 innings. In his last 8 starts, Lester is 6-1 with a 1.71 ERA.
Manager Joe Maddon used six relievers, including Jesse Chavez, in the loss against the Brewers. Considering Pedro Strop’s hamstring injury, will Maddon have enough rested arms to be ready for the Wild Card?
“We’re not dead in the water,” Maddon said. “We have another opportunity. I’ve been involved in wild-card teams that have gone all the way. You’ve got to throw this away very quickly.”
The Colorado Rockies could not prevent the Los Angeles Dodgers from winning their sixth straight NL West title and lost 5-2 in the tie-breaker game.
The Rockies are in the NL Wild Card for a second year in a row. The Rockies lost in last year’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Rockies are seeking their first NL Division Series appearance since 2009.
Rockies are led by 3B Nolan Arenado (38 HR, 110 RBI). Arenado went 1 for 4 with a solo HR against the Dodgers.
The Rockies starting pitchers have a 5.09 ERA against the Cubs this season. Kyle Freeman will face the Cubs on only three days of rest. In his last 11 starts, Freeland is 8-0 with a 2.18 ERA and he pitched 6 or more innings in each of those outings.
The Rockies logged a lot of frequent flier miles in the last 24 hours. The team flew from Denver to Los Angeles for the tie-breaker game and then traveled from Los Angeles to Chicago for the Wild Card game.
The regular season series is tied at 3-3. These two teams met in April and the road team prevailed in both instances with the Cubs winning 2 out of 3 in Denver and the Rockies winning 2 out of 3 in Chicago.
The Cubs are 8-1 favorites to win the World Series, while the Rockies are the biggest longshot on the board at 14-1.