Edwin Jackson is slated to start for the Cubs in Sunday's rubber match against the Rockies at Coors Field. Beyond that, Chicago's rotation is shrouded in uncertainty.
Trade talks involving right-hander Matt Garza, Monday's scheduled starter, have gained steam in recent days. And while the top pitcher on the trade market has won five straight starts, Jackson is on a nice run of his own.
The right-hander won three straight starts entering the All-Star break, rebounding from an up-and-down first half in his first year with the Cubs. He is 6-10 with a 5.11 ERA, but he allowed only four runs in 18 2/3 innings over those final three outings.
"This is probably the craziest start I've ever had in baseball," Jackson said after his last outing, against the Cardinals. "It's a game of grinding it out, and as long as you believe you have the confidence that you can come in and turn things around, that's all that matters. No one expected me to start like I did -- myself, the front office, the team, my manager. It's a game, you have to keep grinding. You can sink or you can swim. I'm definitely one of those guys who won't give up."
The Rockies, who claimed Saturday's tilt, will counter with Tyler Chatwood. The right-hander has allowed more than two runs in only two of his 12 starts this season and has submitted a quality start four of his past five times out.
Still, he took a tough-luck loss his last time out. Chatwood held the Dodgers to one run on four hits over eight innings, but the Rockies lost, 1-0.
"I felt like I threw the ball pretty good," Chatwood said afterward. "That's just how it goes sometimes."
Cubs: Lake continues to impress
The Cubs might have to find a way to get Junior Lake at-bats, even when David DeJesus returns from injury. After going 3-for-4 with a stolen base in his big league debut Friday, the Cubs' ninth-ranked prospect reached base two times Saturday.
"I think the tell-tale will be how he handles the Major League right-handed pitchers, sliders and all that," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "There's got to be a point if a guy's doing well, that's just the way it is. You keep him and you find somewhere to play him."
Lake faced all right-handers Saturday and went 1-for-3 with a walk, and will face another in the finale in Chatwood.
Lake played mostly shortstop and third base in the Minors, but started both games since his promotion in center field. If he keeps hitting, Sveum doesn't care where he plays.
"If it's one position or it's third base and shortstop and right field, left field, give [Alfonso Soriano] the day off," Sveum said. "There's all kinds of options there, because he's such a good athlete, to get his ability in the lineup."
Rockies: Bullpen shakeup moves Brothers to ninth
Closer Rafael Betancourt landed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. The move gives Rex Brothers the closer role and Mitchell Boggs, who was called up to take Betancourt's roster spot, a chance at establishing himself in the Rockies' bullpen.
Boggs served as St. Louis' setup man last season, but logged an 11.05 ERA in 18 appearances this year before a demotion to Triple-A and, eventually, a trade to Colorado.
He was shaky in his first appearance with the Rockies, though, loading the bases in the ninth on a walk, a hit and a hit batter before he recorded the final out unscathed.
"It's starting to feel like it's there," Boggs said before his Colorado debut. "I've got to continue to work every single day."
• The Rockies have scored nine or more runs in a game 14 times this season.
• Since being traded to the Cubs earlier this month, reliever Pedro Strop has delivered eight consecutive scoreless appearances.