ROCKIES (31-29) AT CUBS (34-26)
2:20 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, ATTSN-RM, MLB.TV
Peter Lambert was staying in an Omaha hotel with his teammates on the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes when he received a call from his pitching coach.
The message was simple, if not surreal.
“He said, ‘Pack up all your stuff and meet me in the lobby,’ ” Lambert said to reporters this week as he remembered the life-changing exchange. “When I got there, he said, ‘You’re going to be pitching at Wrigley Field (on Thursday).’ ”
Lambert, 22, hardly could believe it. The Rockies’ second-round pick in 2015 from San Dimas (Calif.) High School is set to make his debut when the Rockies face the Chicago Cubs on Thursday afternoon to wrap a three-game series.
The Cubs are looking for a sweep after wins of 6-3 and 9-8 in the first two contests.
Lambert might fret about the Cubs’ lineup if he had more experience in the big leagues. But this week has been a whirlwind for him, and he is immersed in the newness of it all rather than thinking about what could go wrong.
“I’m super excited,” he told reporters from the visitors’ dugout at Wrigley. “This place is pretty unbelievable.”
And the opponent is pretty tough.
The Cubs are coming off a high-scoring win thanks largely to second baseman David Bote, who went 4-for-4 with a double, a homer and a career-high seven RBIs in Wednesday’s win. Bote could earn another spot in the lineup after his big performance, which he credited to his teammates.
“A lot of it is the guys in front of me grinding at-bats to get on base,” Bote told WGN-TV when asked about his performance, which marked the most RBIs by a Cubs second baseman since Ryne Sandberg in 1984.
“You’ve just got to be ready,” Bote continued. “You lean on these guys. These guys are awesome teammates, you love to be around them. They’re always encouraging you regardless of what’s going on. It’s a credit to this clubhouse.”
Lambert is confident in his approach. He had 20 strikeouts and only one walk in his final three appearances at Albuquerque, and his arm is fresh after he was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night.
“I’ve done well in Albuquerque this year, had a few good ones and a few bad ones, but my fastball command is pretty good right now,” Lambert said to reporters. “That’s the biggest part of my game. If my fastball command is good, everything plays off that.”
The Cubs will counter with veteran left-hander Jose Quintana (4-4, 3.78 ERA), who will make his 12th start of the season and the 227th of his career. Quintana is coming off a rain-shortened appearance in which he gave up two runs in four innings against the St. Louis Cardinals before shutting it down after only 69 pitches.
In three career starts against Colorado, Quintana is 2-0 with a 4.58 ERA.
Rockies outfielder David Dahl has hit safely in 18 of his past 22 games.
Meanwhile, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has 44 RBIs in 56 games this season to lead the team. Rizzo is eighth in franchise history with 206 home runs.
–Field Level Media