Rockies-Cubs Preview

An imposing lineup has boosted the Chicago Cubs to their best start in nearly 50 years, and the Colorado Rockies are right up there with them among the top run-scoring teams.

Much of the Rockies' production, however, has come from a trio of outbursts and they had two to conclude their most recent series.

Those performances also helped make up for some lackluster pitching, but Colorado might not prove so fortunate if that continues Friday at Wrigley Field.

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The Cubs (8-1) have outscored opponents 64-21 and that plus-43 run differential is 19 better than St. Louis for the best in baseball. They poured it on late while completing a three-game sweep of visiting Cincinnati on Thursday, plating five runs in the eighth in an 8-1 victory.

Dexter Fowler hit a two-run single in that inning while finishing 3 for 4, and Kris Bryant had his second homer in as many games for Chicago, which started 11-1 in 1969. Addison Russell also had three hits and registered five RBIs in the series, including a winning three-run homer Monday.

"Our (players) and coaches have done a great job of prepping. One of our goals was to get off to a good start. The guys took it to heart," manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rockies (5-4) have scored 58 runs with 31 of them coming in three games. They totaled 21 runs and 31 hits in the final two of three matchups against San Francisco this week.

Colorado is heading into the Windy City with an MLB-best .300 average, .947 OPS and 20 home runs. Trevor Story had a record seven longballs in his first six major league games but didn't hit one against San Francisco, although he did go 3 for 4 with two triples in a 10-6 victory Wednesday.

Starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa was one of four Colorado hitters with multiple RBIs, and Mark Reynolds drove in three in an 11-6 victory Thursday, giving the Rockies their first win streak in 2016.

"Being able to win back-to-back games is great," said outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who is batting .378 while having hit safely in all nine game. "It's a good sign and we should keep playing the same way."

De La Rosa gave up three earned runs and Chad Qualls allowed one earned to push the Rockies' ERA down to 7.20. Colorado has given up at least five runs in all but two games and its starters have yielded four or more in all but two.

The Rockies have also allowed an MLB-worst 109 hits and 15 homers.

That wouldn't bode well for a matchup with another high-scoring team. The Cubs' staff has a 2.34 ERA and Kyle Hendricks outdueled Arizona's Zack Greinke in his season debut Saturday, giving up two runs in 6 2-3 innings in a 4-2 road victory.

Hendricks didn't fare nearly as well last season against the Rockies with an 8.68 ERA in two starts. Gonzalez went 3 for 6 against him with a homer and double.

Chad Bettis (1-0, 4.38) gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings in Arizona in his season debut April 5, but registered one of Colorado's best starts Sunday, yielding two runs in seven innings in a 6-3 victory against San Diego.

Bettis will make his first start against the Cubs and it appears doubtful that Nick Hundley will be behind the plate. The Colorado catcher was being evaluated for a potential concussion after he was hit in the mask by a foul ball Wednesday.

The Cubs have won 21 of the past 28 home matchups with Colorado.