DENVER — The Cubs looked at this seven-game trip to Colorado and Los Angeles as a tough test.
But this tough?
The National League-best Dodgers were still almost two days and 1,000 miles away when the Rockies got done trouncing the Cubs 10-3 on Tuesday night at Coors Field, sending the Cubs to their fifth consecutive road loss — and the seventh loss in their last eight road games.
“Obviously, it’s been over a week now on the road where we have not gotten things done,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Today wasn’t a good game. You’ve got to be better offensively in this ballpark — that was the separator.”
The Rockies, on the other hand, ran their home winning streak to 10, two short of their franchise record — just two days before the Cubs open a four-game series in L.A. against the team with the majors’ best home record.
“I got no excuses,” shortstop Javy Baez said. “Stuff’s not going our way, and we’re not going to win every game. We’re going to try to make adjustments the next day. If we win, fine. If not, we’ve got to come the next day and make adjustments, too. There’s no excuses about losing games.”
Cubs starter Jose Quintana (4-6) gave up two quick runs in the first, settled down to take a 2-1 game into the fifth but then couldn’t pitch out of the inning — the Cubs losing for the sixth time in Quintana’s last seven starts.
Said Maddon: “Q wasn’t that bad. We get him out of the game right there, and things kind of fell apart. You have to be more offensive [at Coors].”
In his second career start — both wins over the Cubs — Rockies rookie starter Peter Lambert (2-0) pitched five innings, allowing just three hits and two walks.
Second baseman Addison Russell was back in the starting lineup Tuesday for the first time since jamming his right hand on a head-first slide exactly a week earlier.
He had pinch-hit once since then and was ready to return at least a day or two earlier, Joe Maddon said, but the manager stuck with hot-hitting David Bote to open the Rockies series Monday.
“A lot of guys are doing well, and you’ve got only eight spots to work with,” Maddon said, “so you’ve got to figure it out.”
Newly signed closer Craig Kimbrel threw a second bullpen session in Arizona on Monday, two days after his first one. His next step in his spring-like progression to build to game action is to throw a live batting practice session this week.
He is expected to join Class AAA once he’s ready to pitch in games, with a sometime early next month target range for his Cubs debut.
Hey now . . .
Cubs shortstop Javy Baez and catcher Willson Contreras — both of whom were first-time All-Stars last year — were the leading vote-getters at their positions in the first National League updates released Tuesday.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo and third baseman Kris Bryant were second to Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell and Colorado’s Nolan Arenado, respectively. Among NL outfielders, Albert Almora is fifth, Jason Heyward seventh and Kyle Schwarber eighth.
The top nine outfielders and top three finishers at the other positions all qualify for a first-time “Election Day” to determine the starting lineups.