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Friday at 1:20pm CT – Drew Pomeranz vs. Jeff Samardzija
Pomeranz battled through four innings and 76 pitches without good command Sunday, his fifth straight start of four innings or more. He allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits and four walks (one intentional) while striking out three. Samardzija is coming off a loss to the Reds in which he gave up four runs over five innings. He will be happy to be back at Wrigley, where he’s 4-3 with a 3.36 ERA in 10 starts. This has been a tough month: He’s 1-3 with a 4.07 ERA in August.
Saturday at 12:05pm CT – Alex White vs. Brooks Raley
White gave up one run on just three hits to the Mets on Monday, but a 29-pitch first inning led to his departure after just four innings and 83 pitches. White has lowered his season ERA by nearly a point since rejoining the Rockies on Aug. 2. LHP Brooks Raley was expected to be recalled to make his fourth start. In his last outing, he picked up his first MLB win, holding the Reds to four runs over 5 1/3 innings. He posted a quality start in his only outing at Wrigley Field, Aug. 12.
Sunday at 1:20pm CT – Jhoulys Chacin vs. Chris Volstad
Chacin gave up just one run against the Mets on Tuesday in his return from the DL, his first start since May 1. He demonstrated total control over his fastball — which he lacked earlier in the year — and gave up just four hits over six innings. Volstad’s winless streak now has reached 24 straight starts. The right-hander has a career 2-3 record and 5.64 ERA against the Rockies. This month, he’s posted his lowest ERA at 4.88, giving up 13 earned runs over 24 innings.
Today we get our first look at the Rockies’ unusual starting rotation. Playing at Cubs-esque levels of ineffectiveness earlier in the season, Colorado made the switch to a four-man rotation, limited all their starters to 75 pitches, and paired them up with relievers. In effect, they go into every game knowing at least two pitchers will see significant time on the mound. And by flipping the order they throw in, you basically have two starters for every game.
It’s very similar to an idea Jedi has privately preached for a couple seasons now–if your starters can’t consistently get you late in the games, alter the system so that a short start is part of the plan. Specifically with guys like Volstad, you’d have a chance to get him off the mound before his scheduled implosion, and you could pair him up with someone in the bullpen who compliments his style–you know, if we had anyone like that in the bullpen.
So far the new rotation seems to be working for the Rockies. I’d like to say the Cubs could smoke their fellow bottom-dwellers, but they’ve shown some life recently that has me a little scared about this series. The Cubs are trying to string together a couple wins, but might actually serve as easy prey for the other side. I’m not at all confident about how this weekend will go.
Series Prediction: A sweep? Getting swept? Nothing’s off the table here, including a mid-game melee straight out of The Naked Gun.