Colorado lost this game last season and hasn't played in an NLDS since 2009. No moment will feel bigger than the 2016 World Series for those players who experienced that epic Game 7 in Cleveland.
Chicago will trot out its veteran southpaw to start as Jon Lester will toe the rubber on Tuesday night. It was another very disappointing appearance, and I remarked that I'm not sure the Cubs could justify carrying him on a postseason roster at this point. Colorado won two of three in Chicago in late April/early May. Their one loss at Wrigley, however, came with Freeland on the mound.
It was the least the Cubs could do after putting their fans through the ringer this season, a six-month grind that had everyone on edge from start to finish.
The opposing pitcher in that game? Anthony Rizzo's solo shot accounted for the Cubs' lone run in a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee, while Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story hit back-to-back blasts to get the Rockies on the board in their 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Freeland, the Rockies' quiet ace, dominated for 6 ²/₃ innings on three days' rest. After finishing off the Washington Nationals on Sunday at Coors Field, the Rockies left for California.
It's a criss-cross kind of trip and it's one that the Rockies hoped they weren't going to have to make.
Chicago and Colorado were the first to whittle down their 40-man regular-season rosters, expanded from 25 on September 1, back to the 25-man limit. It will be a quick turnaround for both clubs, who had the luxury of expanded rosters for their respective Game 163s.