Cubs

Series preview: Cubs at Rockies

Series preview: Cubs at Rockies

Friday, April 15, 2011Posted: 2 PM

Cubs (6-6) at Rockies (10-2)

Series schedule

Friday, 7:40 p.m. on WCIU
Saturday, 7:10 p.m. on WGN
Sunday, 2:10 p.m. on WGN
Starting pitchers

Friday: Matt Garza (0-1, 5.68) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (2-0, 2.77)
Saturday: Casey Coleman (0-0, 7.20) vs. Jason Hammel (1-0, 4.91)
Sunday: Ryan Dempster (1-2, 6.30) vs. TBA

Previous games

The Cubs took two of three against Houston this week, capped by Wednesday's 9-5 victory in which Alfonso Soriano hit a three-run homer and Starlin Castro and Aramis Ramirez finished with three hits apiece.

The Rockies swept the Mets in a four-game series, including a double-header sweep on Thursday. Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki went 10-for-16 with eight RBIs in the series, homering in each of the four games.

Head-to-head

The Cubs went 2-3 against the Rockies last season, suffering a three-game sweep at Coors Field that included a 17-2 pounding in the series opener.

Who's hot?
Castro went 8-for-15 with four runs scored against the Astros. Darwin Barney has multi-hit efforts in three of his last four games. Lefty reliever Sean Marshall already has five holds on the young season.

Storylines
Can Garza, who has allowed 20 hits in 12 23 innings this season, get his act together? Marlon Byrd is just a .219 career hitter against Colorado, with one home run in 73 career at-bats. On the other hand, Soriano is a career .359 hitter at Coors Field.

Sound off
How concerned are you about the Cubs' starting pitchers, given that their ERA is 5.80 ERA two weeks into the season?

Sports Talk Live Podcast: David Ross joins SportsTalk Live to discuss plans for his first season

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: David Ross joins SportsTalk Live to discuss plans for his first season

SportsTalk Live is on location in San Diego for Day 2 of the Winter Meeting.

0:00 - New Cubs manager David Ross joins Kap and Tony Andracki to talk about getting ready for his first season as a big league skipper and how he'll handle his former teammates.

10:00 - Rick Renteria joins Kap and Chuck Garfien to talk about the White Sox' big offseason plans. Plus he discusses how he might handle his lineup, Yasmani Grandal's impact and how this Sox team compares to the 2014 Cubs that he managed.

20:00 - Dave Wannstedt joins Kap to preview the Bears/Packers game Sunday at Lambeau.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Cubs still trying to break through on extension talks with current players

Cubs still trying to break through on extension talks with current players

SAN DIEGO — While the rest of the baseball world is occupying their time with free agent signings and trades, the Cubs have been waiting for their number to be called.

They've been trying to nail down extensions with key players that are only a couple years away from free agency, though nothing appears imminent on that front. 

Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber are all free agents after the 2021 season, leaving the Cubs two years to work out a deal or trade the player before losing them for nothing but a compensation pick. Willson Contreras is a free agent after 2022. Theo Epstein's front office reached a four-year, $55.5 million deal with Kyle Hendricks in spring training, extending his team control through the 2023 season.

The Cubs won't comment specifically on the current extension talks, but they'd ideally hope to wrap anything before spring training this year, so the players can focus solely on baseball by then.

"We always take the position of not commenting on extensions, but are we having those discussions? Yes," Jed Hoyer said Tuesday. "People focus so much on trades and free agent signings at these meetings, but all the agents are under the same roofs, also, and allows us to have those kinds of discussions. I'm not gonna specify who or what, but yeah certainly those conversations are ongoing."

Bryant has long been thought of as the toughest of the group to lock up long-term given that his agent, Scott Boras, typically advises clients to hit the open market and maximize their value. Boras reiterated Tuesday afternoon at the Winter Meetings he and Bryant are still open to extension talks with the Cubs.

Baez and Rizzo loom as the two most likely to extend their Wrigley Field stays, with the two emerging as the faces of the franchise in their own ways.

As the Cubs try to navigate an offseason where they're "serving two masters" (trying to compete in 2020-21 while also enhancing the long-term future of the franchise), a potential extension would check both boxes in a major way. If Hoyer and Theo Epstein knew Baez would be locking down shortstop and the middle of the lineup for the next six seasons, they could breathe a bit easier thinking about the big picture and long-term health of the franchise. 

At the same time, they can't operate as if anything is a certainty. Bryant could decide he likes the Cubs' offer and make Chicago his baseball home forever. Baez could conclude the opposite. 

It's what makes this particular offseason so tricky for the Cubs.

"We have to be able to have parallel tracks in our mind," Hoyer said. "We have to be able to do multiple things at once. It doesn't make it more difficult. We have a lot of really good players. We've had them for a long time. When we talk to these players about contracts, there's no player that we talk to that we haven't had a conversation with at some point before about a contract. 

"We've talked about these players for five years in some way, shape or form. When we sit down with these players, we're not covering a ton of new ground. We've already been over a lot of it. I think we're able to have parallel tracks."