(Sports Network) - As trade rumors hover around the Chicago Cubs, they did see
part of their future have an impact right out of the gate following the All-
After an exciting major league debut, Junior Lake aims to lead the Cubs to a
series victory on Saturday night against the Colorado Rockies in the second
contest of a three-game series.
With outfielders David DeJesus, Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic all on the
disabled list, the Cubs on Friday recalled Lake from Triple-A Iowa, where the
23-year-old was hitting .295 with four homers, 18 RBI and 14 steals in 40
Rated the ninth-best prospect in the Cubs' organization by MLB.com, Lake made
his debut in center field and hit sixth in Friday's 3-1 victory over the
Rockies, going 3-for-4 with a double and stolen base.
"Since I've been here, that's the first kid that's come up and really looked
like a Major Leaguer," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "(He) was aggressive on
the bases, did a great job. Swung the bat really nice."
As did Anthony Rizzo, who hit the go-ahead RBI double in the seventh inning.
That allowed Jeff Samardzija to earn his first victory since June 23 as he
allowed just one run over 7 1/3 innings.
Chicago has won seven of its last 10 overall and three of four versus Colorado
this season. The Cubs' victory in the opener was just its fourth in its last
18 games at Colorado.
"We've been doing pretty good on the road, we've been winning on the West
Coast, we've been beating good teams, we've been pitching good against really
good offenses," Sveum said. "It brings a light to your team and gives everyone
However, the Cubs are still eight games under .500 and 15 games back of first
place in the NL Central and will likely be sellers ahead of the non-waiver
trade deadline. In fact, starter Matt Garza figures to be dealt within the
next few days.
The Rockies are a bit closer in their chase for first in the NL West, sitting
4 1/2 games off the pace despite having alternated wins and losses over their
last nine games. They have not won consecutive games since June 28-29.
Dexter Fowler homered in Friday's loss and Jorge De La Rosa allowed one run
over six innings of a no-decision.
Colorado, which only recently got Fowler and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki back in
the lineup from injury, has been held to three runs or fewer in five straight
and in nine of its last 11 games.
"I'm not overly concerned about our offense," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
"Getting back to full strength here, I think our offense will get rolling."
Juan Nicasio opens up his second half for the Rockies looking to stay in the
A lack of command earned Nicasio a brief trip to Triple-A, but he returned to
the Rockies and won for the first time in eight starts last Friday versus the
Los Angeles Dodgers. He snapped a six-game slide by holding the division
rivals to just three hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings.
Nicasio, making his first start with Colorado since June 25, won for the first
time since May 19.
The 26-year-old righty is 5-4 with a 4.89 earned run average in 17 starts this
Nicasio faced the Cubs for the first time in his career on May 13 and lost
9-1. He yielded five runs -- all over the first two innings -- over a six-
Taking the mound for the Cubs on Saturday will be Carlos Villanueva, who makes
his third start since returning to the rotation.
The right-hander is 2-5 with a 3.59 ERA in 26 games this season, going 1-4
with a 3.73 ERA in 10 starts. He rejoined the rotation following the trade of
Villanueva kept his club in Friday's meeting with St. Louis, but ended up
taking a 3-2 loss. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks in six
innings of work.
"I thought I came out well," Villanueva said. "I just couldn't put those guys
away. I had a couple of them with two strikes. We did exactly what we wanted
to do, just didn't execute the pitches."
The 29-year-old is 0-2 with a 10.71 ERA in 12 career meetings with the
Rockies. Only one of those was a start and that came on May 14, when
Villanueva was tagged for seven runs in five innings of work. He allowed home
runs in the second and third inning.
The Sports Network