June 9 Odds: Rockies Can Take Advantage of Cubs’ Addison Russell Issue

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, June 8, 2017 9:14 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 8, 2017 9:14 PM UTC

Rockies rookie German Marquez dominated the Cubs about a month ago in Denver. What to expect when he takes the mound Friday (2:20 p.m. ET) at Wrigley Field against a Chicago spot starter?

MLB Season Record: 19-14

Colorado Rockies At Chicago Cubs (-137)

When the Cubs are home on a weekend, they usually play the only matinee on the Friday MLB schedule and that’s the case again June 9 with a 2:20 ET first pitch in Game 2 of a four-game set vs. Colorado.

There are many reasons why the 2017 Cubs aren’t near as good yet as they were in 2016 on the way to 103 regular-season wins and the franchise’s first World Series title. The hitting, pitching and defense are all worse. So you don’t really want to pin it on one guy.

However, one of the most disappointing Cubs this year has been shortstop Addison Russell. He looked like a blossoming superstar last year, his second in the majors, with 21 homers and 95 RBIs. Russell also played strong defense with a fielding percentage of .975 and a zone rating (percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive zone) of 6.527. In the playoffs, Russell had big home runs in two games of the NLCS against the Dodgers. In Game 6 of the World Series in Cleveland, Russell had a grand slam and six RBIs (tying a WS game record).  Then 22, Russell became the second-youngest player to hit a grand slam in the World Series.

Many prognosticators had Russell hitting 30 bombs this year, but he’s only batting .209 with three homers, 19 RBIs and a terrible on-base percentage of .291. His fielding percentage is down to .970 and his zone rating to 5.936. You hate to delve into a player’s personal life, but that could be the reason why Russell is struggling.

“Addison Russell” was trending big-time on Thursday because his wife Melisa accused him in an Instagram post late Wednesday (above) of cheating on her and suggested they were breaking up.  In the comments section, a woman Russell’s wife referred to as a close friend alleged him of “mentally and physically abusing her.” The two have been married since January 2016 and have a son, Aiden, together, while he also has a daughter, Mila, from a previous relationship.

Major League Baseball plans to investigate the domestic violence allegations and if proven true, Russell could be facing suspension. Russell, who denied the allegations on Thursday and was out of the starting lineup, had been getting frequent games off lately, and the team might be better at this point with Javy Baez at short and either Ian Happ or Ben Zobrist at second base. Russell might not play for a while as this is all sorted out.

Baseball is arguably the most statistical sport on the planet, but the mental aspects can play a big role too. The whole Cubs team, for example, clearly was suffering from a World Series hangover the first two months.


Friday’s Probable Pitchers

It’s rookie German Marquez (4-3, 4.53) on the bump for the Rockies; he was originally scheduled to start Thursday’s series opener but was pushed back as his right thumb was a bit sore and swollen after a grounder nicked it in his last start. The team wanted to give him one more day. Marquez was roughed up last Friday in San Diego, giving up six runs over five innings. That was his worst outing since his MLB debut on April 25 vs. Washington.

Marquez dominated the Cubs in a 3-0 win at Coors Field on May 10 for his first big-league win. Marquez had a no-hitter going until Kris Bryant's double leading off the seventh. Marquez went eight innings and allowed three hits with eight strikeouts. He basically beat the Cubs himself by also knocking in two runs with a single.

The Cubs were to counter with reigning NL ERA champion Kyle Hendricks, but he was placed on the DL Thursday with right hand tendinitis. So it's long reliever/occasional starter and lefty Mike Montgomery (0-3, 2.21). Montgomery went 3.1 scoreless innings on Monday against Miami to earn his second save of the season. He will certainly be on a pitch count with his high at 52 in 2017.  Montgomery didn't pitch vs. the Rockies last month. He did start against them in 2016 and allowed one run and one hit with five strikeouts in 4.1 innings. 


Reasoning For Pick

Marquez is 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA away from home this year and 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in day games. Montgomery should give the Cubs 4-5 solid innings, but he won't last longer than that. The Cubs are good at home, but I don't hugely trust that Chicago bullpen between when Montgomery might leave and closer Wade Davis would enter. Plus this Russell thing is likely a distraction. So it's Colorado on the runline with my MLB pick. 

Free MLB Pick: Rockies On RLBest Line Offered: SportsBetting

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