The Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies seemed to be on different trajectories when they met in the 2018 National League wild-card game. The Cubs were two years removed from winning their first World Series in 108 years but were starting to slip from contention.
The Rockies, who won that game 2-1in Chicago, looked like a team on the rise, but things went south for them after that playoff victory. Three years later, both franchises are trying to rebuild and it's the Cubs who come to Colorado with a different-looking team than a week ago.
Chicago will send Zach Davies (6-7, 4.39 ERA) to the mound against Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (1-6, 4.52) on Tuesday in the first of a three-game series at Coors Field.
Both teams are coming off road losses on Sunday and had Monday off.
The Cubs traded former NL MVP Kris Bryant as well as Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez and Craig Kimbrel before Friday's deadline for a load of prospects who could make the Cubs' rebuild a quick restoration project.
Bryant, Rizzo and Baez are free agents after this season, and general manager Jed Hoyer didn't want to let them walk without getting something in return.
"We could either hold these players for two months and have them compete for a fourth-place team or do everything we could do in our power to reset our farm system and reset our organization," Hoyer said after the trade deadline. "We accelerated that over the last 10 days or so."
Colorado took a different approach. In the offseason they traded Nolan Arenado, who was under contract for at least two seasons, but last week chose not to deal pending free agents in shortstop Trevor Story and pitcher Jon Gray.
Gray has expressed a desire to stay with the Rockies, but Story fully expected to be with a contender after Friday. Interim GM Bill Schmidt and the front office didn't find a deal they liked so they decided to hold on to Story and receive a compensatory pick in next year's draft if Story does sign somewhere else in the offseason.
"I'm confused and I don't have really anything good to say about the situation and how it unfolded," Story told the Denver Post shortly after Friday's trade deadline.
Colorado will play out the season with very little hope of making it to the playoffs, although it has played well lately on the road, going 7-7 in its past 14 away from home compared to a 6-33 road start. At home the Rockies have been very good and hope to improve on their 33-20 record at Coors Field during the upcoming six-game homestand.
Freeland in his career is 0-2 with a 4.15 ERA in two regular season starts against Chicago, and he also threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in the NL wild-card game at Wrigley Field. He didn't factor into the 13-inning Rockies victory, the only postseason start in his career.
Davies, in his first season with the Cubs, is 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA in seven career starts against Colorado. He has made three starts at Coors Field where he is 1-1 with a 2.30 ERA.
--Field Level Media