National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, August 7 (All times Eastern)
Chicago Cubs (48-64) at Colorado Rockies (45-68), 3:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Kyle Hendricks (2-1, 2.05) Colorado - Yohan Flande (0-3, 5.72)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Leave it to the Chicago Cubs to help Carlos Gonzalez break out of a slump.
Gonzalez and the Colorado Rockies try to secure a series victory on Thursday afternoon in the finale of a three-game set with the visiting Cubs.
It has been a tough season for Gonzalez, who missed just over a month of action due to finger surgery to correct a nagging issue and then hit just .170 in 15 games upon returning.
Gonzalez was also out of the starting lineup for three recent games because of an ankle issue, though he did pinch-hit in Tuesday's opener, drawing a walk in a 6-5 loss.
The talented outfielder returned to the lineup last night and went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and three runs scored as the Rockies pounded the Cubs 13-4 to snap a five-game slide.
Gonzalez is now hitting .364 in 28 career games versus Chicago with nine homers and 20 RBI.
"Hopefully this is a sign that CarGo is getting on track again," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss. "We've seen him have a night like this many times. When he gets rolling, it's something to see."
Corey Dickerson went 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, while Michael McKenry also went yard for the Rockies.
Chicago starter Jake Arrieta was charged with nine runs on 13 hits over five- plus forgettable innings.
"I knew after my bullpen session that I was going to have to make a pretty substantial adjustment to command the ball," Arrieta said.
The one positive for Chicago was the return of relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa, who relieved Arrieta and recorded the final three outs of the sixth in just 10 pitches. Fujikawa hadn't pitched since May 26 of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Chicago was aiming for its first series victory at Coors Field since August, 2004 and has won just three times in its last 16 games in Colorado.
However, the Rockies lost three of four on the road to the Cubs from July 28-31 and left-hander Yohan Flande pitched twice in that series. He'll make his third straight appearance against Chicago today.
Flande is 0-3 with a 5.72 earned run average through his first six MLB appearances, the first five of those starts. His most recent start came on July 28 versus the Cubs and he allowed two runs while striking out eight over 6 2/3 innings of a 4-1 loss.
"He did an outstanding job for us tonight," said Colorado manager Walt Weiss. "He went deep in the game and that helped because our bullpen is kind of banged up right now."
Weiss then called upon the 28-year-old for 1 2/3 innings of relief to close the series on July 31.
The Cubs counter with another hurler in the process of creating his MLB resume in Kyle Hendricks, who makes the fifth start of his career.
Hendricks has gone 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA while giving up six earned runs. However, only two of those have come in his last three outings and he picked up an 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. The 24-year-old righty was charged with two runs -- one earned -- on four hits over seven innings.
"It was easier to focus against a good team," said Hendricks. "As the game went on, I felt stronger and stronger. I'm getting more comfortable every day because of the guys in the clubhouse."
Hendricks will make his first start against the Rockies.
08/07 10:50:18 ET