Game Three: Cubs (1-1) vs. Rockies (3-0)
- Game Time – 3:10pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV Ch. 9 – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 183, 844
- Location – Coors Field, Denver
Travis Wood (0-0, -.–/-.–/-.–) vs. Tyler Matzek (0-0, -.–/-.–/-.–)
The Cubs first road trip is a quick one, a three-game weekend series in Denver that starts with the Rockies’ home opener. Colorado showed off its explosive offense with a sweep in Milwaukee to start the season. The Rockies have the offense, especially if Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are on the field with Nolan Arenado, it’s the pitching that’s the question and the reason most feel the Rockies will finish at the bottom of the NL West.
The Cubs won five of the seven games (5-2) against the Rockies last season but have struggled over the years at Coors Field (34-43 since 1995). Joe Maddon will face a huge challenge this weekend in Denver, not only in keeping the Rockies off the scoreboard but with getting his own team to put runs on the board.
Travis Wood takes the ball tonight against southpaw Tyler Matzek. Maddon will debut his right-handed lineup with the lefty on the hill. Matzek held lefties to a .147/.205/.214 line last year while righties batted .306/.374/.417 against him.
Jason Hammel gets the ball in game two against Kyle Kendrick on Saturday night. The series wraps Sunday afternoon with a matchup of Kyle Hendricks and Jordan Lyles. The Cubs make the flight back to Chicago for Monday night’s matchup of Jon Lester versus Mike Leake and the revitalized Big Red Machine.
Joe Maddon and Dexter Fowler return to Colorado for the weekend.
Colorado holds a special place in Maddon’s heart. Maddon signed with the Angels after playing semi-pro ball in the summer of 1975 for Bauldie Moschetti’s Boulder Collegians and proposed to his wife during a road trip with the Rays there in 2007.
And Fowler faces the organization that selected him in the 14th round of the 2004 draft. Fowler broke in with Colorado and put together a .270/.365/.423 line in 667 games in a Rockies uniform. Fowler will face the pitcher the Rockies traded him to Houston for last season on Sunday afternoon, Jordan Lyles.
This afternoon all starts with Travis Wood …
Travis Wood is coming off a down year, one he takes full responsibility for following what was perceived as a breakout season. Wood didn’t have the same command in 2014 that he had in 2013. And just missing his spots was a big difference from one year to the other.
After walking 66 batters with 144 strikeouts and allowing 163 hits over 200 innings in 2013, Wood walked 76 batters and gave up 190 hits in 173 2/3 innings with 146 strikeouts last year. Wood does not have the stuff to get out of jams, especially those he creates. Every starting pitcher should maintain at least a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio, for Wood that’s essential to his success.
If the Cubs can get the 2012 version of Travis Wood this season, which falls in between his last two years, Joe Maddon should be satisfied with that production from the pitcher that won the final spot in the rotation during Spring Training.
Travis Wood really struggled on the road last year which makes today a very good test for him. Outside of Wrigley, Wood was 5-7 in 15 starts with a 5.47 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP (97 hits, 40 walks and 52 strikeouts in 82 1/3 innings). And Wood faced the Rockies twice last season.
In two starts against the Rockies in 2014, Wood received two no decisions after allowing seven runs on 15 hits with five walks and 13 strikeouts in 12 innings. At Coors Field, he gave up three runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts in six innings.
For his career, Wood is 1-1 in six appearances, five starts, against the Rockies with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. And in three games at Coors, Wood has three no decisions with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP (six runs on 12 hits with six walks and 10 strikeouts in 13 innings).
Rockies Career Numbers against Travis Wood
- Drew Stubbs: 5-for-12 with one triple
- Nick Hundley: 2-for-9 with one double
- Carlos Gonzalez: 0-for-10
- Daniel Descalso: 3-for-8 with one triple and one walk
- Michael McKenry: 4-for-8 with one double and one walk
- Justin Morneau: 1-for-8 with one walk
- Nolan Arenado: 2-for-8 with one double
- Charlie Blackmon: 2-for-8 with one double
- D.J. LeMahieu: 0-for-5 with one walk
- Wilin Rosario: 1-for-4 with two walks
- Troy Tulowitzki: 0-for-5 with one walk
- Corey Dickerson: 0-for-1
Tyler Matzek makes the first start of his career and second appearance against the Cubs this afternoon. The lefty is coming off a solid season with the Rockies. Matzek appeared in 20 games and made 19 starts for Walt Weiss. Matzek was 6-11 with a 4.05 ERA, a 1.39 WHIP and a 3.78 FIP.
Matzek was very good at Coors Field over eight starts. Matzek was 4-4 with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, just two home runs allowed in 52 1/3 innings.
The Cubs hung a loss on Matzek in the marathon, record setting game last July (6 hours, 27 minutes). John Baker picked up the win when Starlin Castro delivered the game winner in the 16th inning that plated, of course, John Baker.
Cubs Career Numbers against Tyler Matzek
- Miguel Montero: 1-for-4 with one home run and two walks
- Tommy La Stella: 1-for-3
- Arismendy Alcantara: 0-for-1
- Starlin Castro: No Official At Bat
- Anthony Rizzo: 0-for-1
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …