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Thursday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Cubs vs. Rockies: Expect High-Scoring Affair at Coors Field (August 5)

Thursday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Cubs vs. Rockies: Expect High-Scoring Affair at Coors Field (August 5) article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jake Arrieta.

  • The Chicago Cubs take on the Colorado Rockies in a Thursday MLB matinee showdown at Coors Field.
  • Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the Cubs, who are a shell of themselves after trading away their stars.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks down this meeting below and details why he expects fireworks in this confrontation.

Cubs vs. Rockies Odds

Cubs Odds+135
Rockies Odds-160
Time3:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday morning via DraftKings.

Two of the Major League Baseball’s worst teams wrap up a three-game series Thursday when the Chicago Cubs take on the Colorado Rockies.

The Cubs have officially cleaned house of all of their star players, which has led them to fielding one of the worst rosters in baseball. To make matters worse, they’re going to send their weakest starting pitcher — Jake Arrieta — to the mound in the most hitter-friendly park, so I don’t envision this will be a pleasant time from Chicago.

In contrast, the Rockies (very strangely) didn’t trade any of their stars despite being completely out of the playoff picture. They still have a halfway decent offense and starting pitching, but their bullpen has been an absolute disaster. They’ll be sending Antonio Senzatela, who’s returning from the COVID-19 list, to the mound and hope he can give the bullpen a break in this contest.

Offensive Matchup

Chicago Cubs

With the Cubs trading their three best hitters, this is now a barren lineup that ranks in the baseball’s bottom five clubs.

Based on my projections, with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez in the lineup, Chicago would be projected for 4.29 runs (not counting the pitcher spot) on average. So, without those three in the lineup, it makes about a half run difference for the Cubs, which I know doesn’t sound like much, but it’s massive from a projection standpoint.

Even with Rizzo, Bryant and Baez around, the Cubs didn’t hit right-handed pitching well at all. Their .220 batting average against righties is the lowest in MLB, plus they only have a .307 wOBA and 87 wRC+, which is among the bottom 10 in baseball.

Colorado Rockies

Despite their terrible record, the Rockies have been hitting the ball better over the past month, putting up a .318 wOBA. Like I mentioned earlier, going into the second half of the season, Colorado’s offense is going to benefit greatly from holding onto Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon, even though it’s completely out of the playoff picture.

Also, Arrieta has been one of the baseball’s worst pitchers, so even though the Rockies haven’t hit righties or sinkers well, they should be able to get to him.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Jake Arrieta vs. Antonio Senzatela

2021 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Cubs Starting Pitcher

Jake Arrieta, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Arrieta takes one of the poorest HR/9 rates (2.07) in baseball to the most home-run friendly park. He has been an unmitigated disaster since returning to Chicago, putting up a 6.33 xERA that’s one of the baseball’s worst numbers.

He hasn’t been effective at all with his patented sinker/slider combination, as both pitches are allowing a wOBA over .380 and combining to allow 16 home runs. He’s also been walking way too many guys, as his BB/9 rate is up at 4.25, which is a career high So, given the fact that he’s playing in Coors, it could be a short outing for him in this spot.

Rockies Starting Pitcher

Antonio Senzatela, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Senzatela is what I would describe as an average MLB starting pitcher. His xERA and xFIP are both above four and he doesn’t have a high K/9 rate (6.20) the season. However, his BB/9 rate is at 2.00 and his HR/9 rate is at 0.86, which are the best two marks of his career.

Senzatela is mainly a fastball/slider pitcher, going to one of those two pitches 85.2% of the time. His fastball has been below average, allowing a .294 xBA and a .341 xwOBA. That will be good news for a Cubs lineup that has a positive run value against fastballs.

His slider on paper doesn’t look great, allowing a .402 wOBA, but he’s actually due for a lot of positive regression on that pitch because opponents only have a .294 xwOBA against it. The Cubs have a -21.7 run value against slider, so I expect Senzatela to go to that pitch a lot in this game.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

The Cubs did have one of the best bullpens in baseball before the trade deadline, but after dealing Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera to the Chicago White Sox it turned them into a below-average bullpen. The Rockies’ relievers have been awful, as they’re bottom five in ERA, xFIP, BB/9 rate, HR/9 rate and LOB percentage. So, this game could get out of hand in the later innings.

Cubs-Rockies Pick

I think this is a horrible matchup for the Cubs with Arrieta on the mound. However, Senzatela has been below average and Chicago does hit fastballs well, so I think it will be able to get to him. Also, the Rockies bullpen is one of the baseball’s worst, so I believe we’re going to have a slugfest on our hands.

Since I have 12.01 runs projected for this game, I think there’s some value on over 11 runs at +100 odds via DraftKings would play it up to -110 as well.

Pick: Over 11 Runs (+100)

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