The National League playoff field is finally set after an exciting finish to the 2018 regular season. The Chicago Cubs will host the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night in a winner take all game at Wrigley Field. The Cubs and Rockies split their six-game season series this year, but all six of the games took place in late April/early May.
The Cubs finished the regular season with a 95-68 record, but saw the Milwaukee Brewers win the National League Central Division. The Rockies lost the NL West tiebreaker to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday afternoon to finish with a 91-72 regular season record. The Cubs come into this game as slight favorites, with a money line of -130.
Cubs Offense Needs To Step Up
The Chicago Cubs offense has been inconsistent of late, and it didn’t show up on Monday afternoon. Anthony Rizzo blasted a solo home run against the Brewers, but the Cubs managed just three hits and one run in the loss. Javier Baez looked like the National League MVP for much of the season but has faded down the stretch. He still finished the regular season with 34 home runs and 111 runs batted in. The Cubs need Baez to be an offensive threat in this game.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon has named Jon Lester the starter for the Cubs on Tuesday night. Lester has won several key playoff games for the Cubs in his career, and the team needs another big one in this game. The veteran left-hander was sharp in the month of September, going 4-1 with a 1.52 earned run average through five starts. Lester beat the Rockies in his only start against them earlier this season.
Freeland Starting on 3 Days Rest
The Rockies are turning to young Kyle Freeland as their starting pitcher in this game. Freeland will be starting on just three days rest, but he has been the best Rockies pitcher this season. He finished the regular season with a 17-7 record and had a sparkling 2.85 earned run average. Freeland went 5-0 with a 2.61 earned run average through six September starts.
Colorado blasted 208 home runs as a team this season, and they have a lineup full of sluggers. Nolan Arenado led the National League with 38 home runs this season and finished just one RBI shy of tying Javier Baez for the league lead. Trevor Story belted a solo home run in the Rockies loss on Monday, and David Dahl recorded five home runs in the final week of the regular season.
Lester Leads Cubs To NLDS
The Rockies will try to slug their way to the NLDS, but Jon Lester always seems to find a way to get it done in the playoffs. Colorado hopes that Freeland will be sharp in this game, despite having just three days rest. The Cubs must find a way to score runs in this game, and based on past history, they will. Look for the Cubs to beat the Rockies on Tuesday night to advance to the NLDS. Bet the Chicago Cubs -130 over the Rockies.