After nearly a month of malaise at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs will try for only their second home winning streak of the second half on Tuesday night as they continue a series against the Colorado Rockies.
Rafael Ortega drilled a walk-off, two-run home run Monday to give Chicago a 6-4 win over the Rockies in the series opener. The Cubs snapped a franchise-record, 13-game home losing streak, securing their first win at the Friendly Confines since July 26.
The Cubs haven’t won successive games at Wrigley since July 25-26. Chicago trailed Monday’s game 4-1 after seven innings before connecting against the Rockies bullpen.
“These guys have fought to the end a lot,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “Sometimes, the pitching gets the best of us, but the effort, the intent, the focus is there night in and night out.”
Colorado will aim to reset after beginning a nine-game road trip with a stunning loss. Getting a much-needed jolt from the long ball would help.
The Rockies are in the bottom third of the major leagues with 135 home runs this season.
“I do know that power plays, and teams that have had successful seasons, in this day and age, need the home run,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “In the years that we have won, since I’ve been here, there’s been a nice amount of homers.”
Colorado belted 192, 210 and 224 home runs in the club’s first three full seasons under Black, who took the reins in 2017. The Rockies boast four players with double-digit home runs, two with nine and three with eight.
Third baseman Ryan McMahon, who ranks second on the team with 18 homers, has gone deep just twice since June 16.
“I think my swing is getting a little long and I’m getting a little tired,” said McMahon, who went 0-for-4 on Monday. “I’m not snapping the barrel like I usually can do.
“Honestly, I’m just grinding. I’m starting to put together good at-bats and do what the team needs me to do. I’m not just saying that because it’s the right answer. It’s the truth. But yeah, I’d like to hit more home runs. I know that (when) we hit home runs, our record is pretty good.”
Cubs left-hander Justin Steele (2-2, 3.22 ERA) has allowed at least one home run in both of his starts since joining the rotation this month on the heels of six straight scoreless relief appearances.
The rookie, who has not faced the Rockies in his career, is coming off an Aug. 16 loss at Cincinnati, where he scattered two runs on five hits in four innings with three walks and five strikeouts.
Righty German Marquez (11-9, 3.80 ERA) gets the call for Colorado.
Dealing with a stomach illness during an Aug. 17 home start against the San Diego Padres, Marquez took a one-hitter into the seventh inning before surrendering a trio of home runs. Nonetheless, Marquez won for the third time in four starts with 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball.
Marquez is 1-2 with a 6.66 ERA in five career starts against the Cubs covering 25 2/3 innings.
–Field Level Media