(Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
Looking to get back on track following a fourth consecutive losing series, the reeling Chicago Cubs will try to hand the visiting Colorado Rockies an eighth straight road defeat on Friday in the opener of a three-game set.
After snapping a five-game skid with Tuesday's 14-1 home rout of Pittsburgh, Chicago (79-74) dropped the next two meetings against a club that's nine games under .500. That has left the Cubs in a 3-10 tailspin and battling for a wild-card position in the National League following Thursday's 8-6 loss to the Pirates.
"We've got nine games left to play our style of baseball," Chicago manager David Ross said. "We've got to play better.
"We've just got to turn it around. It's on me. It's on the guys in that room to play a little bit better."
Chicago's current rut includes two losses in three games at Colorado from Sept. 11-13. The Cubs totaled just 12 runs in Denver's thin air.
On Friday, the Cubs will turn to right-hander Jameson Taillon (7-10, 5.27 ERA), who hasn't pitched since a 7-3 loss in the finale of that series at Colorado, as the club reset its rotation for the final stretch run.
Taillon pitched three scoreless innings against the Rockies, then yielded a single run in the fourth and two-run homers to Nolan Jones and Elehuris Montero in the fifth -- Taillon's final inning of the day. Three of those five runs were earned, and Taillon is 0-4 in his last seven outings.
"It starts with (my execution)," Taillon said. "But it does feel like if we give extra opportunities this year, that coupled with me not always being at my best like I'm used to this year, I feel like that's kind of a bad recipe."
For his career, Taillon is 2-1 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts against the Rockies (56-96).
Since Aug. 30, Jones is batting .338 with four homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.092 on-base-plus-slugging percentage for Colorado (56-96), which, after losing 5-4 to the Cubs in that series opener, won five games in a row. However, the Rockies have dropped four straight since that run and were just swept in a three-game set at San Diego.
Colorado has posted an NL-low 22 victories on the road, where it has lost seven straight games and 18 of its last 20. However, considering that successful series against the Cubs, who are currently not playing like a postseason contender, the Rockies have reason to be optimistic -- at least for the weekend.
"If we can finish the season (strong) and carry that into next year, this can be really good," Colorado right-hander Chase Anderson said.
Called up from Triple-A Albuquerque last weekend, right-hander Noah Davis (0-2, 9.58) is scheduled to make his first career appearance versus the Cubs and his first start for the Rockies since June 20. He threw two scoreless innings of relief against San Francisco on Sunday and has made all four of his career starts this season, going 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA.
Davis will try to cool off Chicago's Dansby Swanson, who is batting .300 with three homers and eight RBIs in his last 11 games. Swanson went 5-for-12 in the series with the Rockies earlier this month.
--Field Level Media