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Cubs Wild Card Game Notes For Tuesday vs. Colorado
The Rockies and the Cubs will meet in the postseason for the first time tonight, after both losing Game 163s for a chance at a division title. Colorado held a 1.5 game lead in NL West as late as September 13, and Chicago led the NL Central by as many as 5.0 games on September 2. These two teams split their season series 3-3, with each team scoring exactly 33 runs and winning two of three road games.
The Cubs have won five of their last six postseason elimination games, however they lost their most recent against the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 2017 NLCS. Chicago won during its only other appearance in the NL Wild Card Game, defeating the Pirates 4-0 in 2015.
The Rockies, 11-8 losers against the Diamondbacks in last year’s NL Wild Card Game, will be looking to avoid joining the 2014-15 Pittsburgh Pirates as the only team to lose back-to-back Wild Card Games in either league. Colorado has lost four consecutive postseason elimination games, and is just 1-4 in such games in franchise history.
Nolan Arenado (38 HR) and Trevor Story (37 HR) became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second in home runs in the National League since Willie Mays and Willie McCovey did so for the Giants in 1965. This season, Story and Francisco Lindor became the only two shortstops all-time with at least 35 home runs, 40 doubles and 25 stolen bases in a single season.
In 24 career postseason games, Daniel Murphy is slashing .323/.407/.613, good for a 1.020 OPS. Among all players with at least 100 career postseason plate appearances, only four others all-time have produced a .320+/.400+/.600+ playoff slash line: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Paul Molitor and Lenny Dykstra.
Jon Lester is 6-1 with a 1.71 ERA over his last eight starts, including four starts of at least 6.0 innings with zero runs allowed. Lester, who carries a 2.55 ERA and a .210 opponent batting average in 25 career postseason appearances, has thrown more playoff innings (148.0) than any other active pitcher. Lester last started a postseason elimination game in Game 5 of the 2016 World Series, a start in which he won, holding the Indians to two runs and four hits over 6.0 innings.
Kyle Freeland will make his first career postseason start, pitching on three days rest for the first time in his professional career. Dating back to July 27, Freeland has made 13 consecutive starts, 11 of which Colorado has won, of at least 5.0 innings while allowing three runs or fewer. Freeland’s 2.85 ERA this season in 202.1 innings of work is the lowest ever in a single season by a qualified Rockies pitcher.