In the first two games of a series in Denver, the Chicago Cubs sent out two young arms who had never pitched at Coors Field.
Things worked out well in the first game for Chicago, but starter Javier Assad struggled in a 6-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night. Now the Cubs will turn to a veteran on Wednesday as they try to take the rubber match of a three-game series with Colorado.
Right-hander Jameson Taillon (7-9, 5.27 ERA) will get the start for Chicago (78-68), while the Rockies will send left-hander Ty Blach (2-1, 4.58) to the mound in the series finale.
Taillon is coming off a strong start against Arizona on Friday, when he tossed six scoreless innings and gave up just one hit. He didn't factor into the 1-0 loss to the Diamondbacks, but it was an encouraging outing for Taillon, who hasn't earned a win since Aug. 8 and is 0-3 with a 5.57 ERA in six starts since then.
The current rut comes on the heels of a stretch in which Taillon went 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA in six outings from July 7 to the Aug. 8 victory.
Taillon's seven wins are half of his total with the New York Yankees last season, when he went 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA. Rather than the stats, he is just concerned with trying to help the Cubs reach the playoffs in his first season with the club.
"I've kind of come to grips with the fact that my numbers aren't going to get to where I'm used to seeing them and stuff — and that doesn't really matter," Taillon said after his last start. "We're in a playoff hunt right now. All that matters is my next start for myself, and all that matters for the team is winning."
Taillon is facing Colorado for the third time in his career and is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA against the Rockies. He hasn't faced Colorado since logging a complete game against the club back on Aug. 7, 2018, when he was with the Pirates. Taillon surrendered two runs on 10 hits in that outing.
Colorado (52-92) is trying to avoid losing 100 games for the first time in franchise history. Blach has been a steadying presence in a rotation hit hard by injuries. Four starters — German Marquez, Antonio Senzatela, Austin Gomber and Ryan Feltner — are currently on the injured list.
Blach started the season coming out of the bullpen but has been a starter since July 23. He has pitched well against tough teams, like when he held Baltimore to a run on three hits over seven innings on Aug. 27, and has gone at least five innings in each of his last three outings.
In six career appearances (three starts) against the Cubs, Blach is 4-1 with a 4.43 ERA. He last faced Chicago on April 15, 2022, throwing 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn a win.
Thanks to his consistent run, Blach has gotten praise from Rockies manager Bud Black.
"He doesn't waver from what he does, and it's really great to see," Black said. "It's fastball command at 90, 91, 89-mph, both sides of the plate. Changes speeds, keeps the ball down, will pitch inside effectively."
—Field Level Media