Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#3903 Chicago Cubs vs.
#3904 Colorado Rockies
Thursday, August 5, 2021 at 3:10pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Chicago Cubs will close their three-game series on the road at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday afternoon.

Chicago has been in a free-fall down the National League Central standings. After back-to-back losses, the Cubs sit in fourth place in the division race with a 51-57 overall record. Meanwhile, the Rockies are trying to salvage what’s left of a lost season in Colorado. With three wins over its last four games, Colorado suddenly finds itself trending in the right direction.

Arrieta looking to build off first start back from IL

Chicago will hand the ball to veteran right-hander Jake Arrieta for its final game of the series in Colorado on Thursday. The 35-year-old is 5-10 with a 6.20 ERA in 18 starts but will try to build off of a strong start in his return from a hamstring injury. In his first start back off of the injured list, Arrieta allowed just two runs in four innings of work in a loss versus the Washington Nationals. The Cubs’ right-hander has struggled to pitch deep into games this season and has completed five innings or more just once in his last five starts.

Father time seems to be finally catching up to Arrieta. At age 35, the Cubs’ right-hander has lost an average of two miles per hour on his fastball this season. Arrieta has given up a career-worst 2.07 HR/9 and an alarming home run per fly ball rate of 21.7 percent. He’s also struggled with his command, walking 4.25 batters per nine innings of work, his highest rate since the 2013 season.

Arrieta has made six career starts against Colorado, going 2-3 with a 5.82 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in those matchups. The Cubs’ veteran is also winless at Coors Field, where he owns a 0-3 record and 10.43 ERA in three games. Per Baseball Savant, current Rockies are batting just .171 in 43 plate appearances off of Arrieta ahead of Thursday’s contest.

Marquez rides streak of quality starts into matchup vs. Cubs

The Rockies will turn to staff ace German Marquez for the series finale at Coors Field on Thursday afternoon. The 26-year-old had a rocky start to the season but has turned things around in a big way. Marquez has posted 12 quality starts in his last 15 outings, including his previous start against the San Diego Padres. He limited San Diego to just two runs with seven strikeouts in six innings of work to escape with the win. Marquez enters with a 9-8 overall record and a 3.51 ERA in 22 starts.

Despite a slow start to the season, Marquez appears to be better than ever on the mound for Colorado. The Rockies’ right-hander has held opponents to a career-low .217 batting average in 2021 and he’s fanned 9.23 batters per nine innings of work, the second-highest rate of his career. He’s also logged a 52.6 percent ground ball rate, good for fourth among qualified MLB starting pitchers and his highest rate as a full-time starter.

This will be Marquez’s first start of the season against Chicago. In five career starts against the Cubs, he is 1-2 with a 6.66 ERA.

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Marquez has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball over the last two months. He’s posted quality starts in 12 of his previous 15 starts while allowing two earned runs or fewer 10 times during that span. The Rockies’ right-hander also owns a 6-2 record and 3.29 ERA at home in Coors Field, which has not been an easy place to pitch for Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta. Arrieta is 0-3 with a 10.43 ERA in three career starts in Colorado, which should leave some value on the home team in this matchup. Take the Rockies to come out on top at home in this NL battle on Thursday night.

Prediction: Colorado Rockies -154

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These two teams combined for 19 runs in the series opener and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this turn into another high-scoring affair. Arrieta allowed just two runs in his previous start but he’s struggled on the mound this season. The Cubs’ right-hander has also had trouble with walks and home runs, which won’t bode well for his chances at Coors Field. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ offense has suddenly scored five runs or more in three straight games while the Rockies have scored five or more runs in three of their previous four contests. Take this matchup to go over the projected total on Thursday night.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.