A night after one of the Chicago Cubs' highly touted positional prospects led them to victory, Jake Arrieta hopes to again show why he's also expected to be a big part of the club's future.
Looking for a second straight dominant effort against Colorado, Arrieta tries to help the Cubs hand the Rockies a sixth consecutive defeat Wednesday night and secure their first winning series at Coors Field in 10 seasons.Arrieta (6-2, 2.11 ERA) allowed a run, three hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 3-1 victory over Colorado on Thursday. The outing marked the fourth time this season the right-hander didn't yield a hit through the first four innings.He now has the chance to become the first Cub since Steve Trachsel in 1994 to record 11 straight quality starts."It's a good feeling when you get in that groove and you're able to execute pitch after pitch," said Arrieta, who is 10-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 25 starts with the Cubs."Just changing your looks, not being in patterns of predictability really is what makes things easy for me out there."Arrieta will try to lead Chicago (48-63) to a third straight victory after Javier Baez homered in the 12th inning of his major league debut in Tuesday's 6-5 win.Baez, called up less than a month after the versatile Arismendy Alcantara made his debut, went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts prior to homering and lifting the Cubs to their sixth win in eight games."(Baez) went out there and kept grinding it," manager Rick Renteria said. "He's got a very powerful swing."All-Star Starlin Castro, who has already taken on the role of mentor for Baez, is 9 for 17 as Chicago has gone 3-1 so far on its six-game trip.The Cubs are 9-20 at Coors since last winning a series there Aug. 3-5, 2004.With Troy Tulowitzki (hip) still out and Carlos Gonzalez (ankle) relegated to a pinch-hitting appearance Tuesday, the Rockies (44-68) fell for the eighth time in nine games.Though Tulowitzki is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday, he's not expected to return until next week. Gonzalez, however, hopes to start for the first time in four games.Gonzalez is 1 for 13 with five strikeouts against the Cubs this season, and 0 for 3 versus Arrieta.Ending a string of 20 consecutive starts by Colorado left-handers, Jordan Lyles (5-1, 3.52) returns to the mound after missing two months with a broken hand suffered while trying to make a tag at home plate during a 16-8 loss to Arizona on June 4.He allowed four runs -- two earned -- over four innings of that contest and posted a 5.89 ERA in his last four starts before the injury. The Rockies deemed Lyles ready to go after he threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday."Things went well for him," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.Lyles is 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts against the Cubs.Anthony Rizzo is 2 for 4 with a double versus Lyles, but Castro is 1 for 10 against him.
Jake Arrieta's slider has averaged 89.2 mph, which is second highest in MLB among pitchers with at least 75 innings pitched. The Colorado Rockies have a team batting average of .251 against sliders thrown at least 87 mph this year, which leads the National League.
Michael McKenry's seventh inning home run was calculated at 445 feet, the longest of his career.