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Cubs-Rockies Preview

Kyle Hendricks doesn't have overwhelming velocity, averaging less than 90 mph while instead methodically spotting his pitches.

His personality isn't exactly in-your-face, either - a trait that eccentric Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn't seem to mind.

After a solid second half in 2014, Hendricks takes the mound for his season debut Sunday with the Cubs looking to take two of three from the host Colorado Rockies.

Hendricks went 7-2 with a 2.46 ERA in 13 starts after being called up to make his major league debut July 10. He allowed two earned runs or fewer 10 times while pitching at least seven innings on six occasions.

He's been able to fly under the radar as more heralded Cubs prospects such as Javier Baez, Jorge Soler, Addison Russell and Kris Bryant receive most of the attention.

Last season's emergence of fellow starter Jake Arrieta and the offseason signing of Jon Lester also are keeping the spotlight off Hendricks in the rotation. According to Maddon, that seems to be the way Hendricks likes it.

"I watch the guy go about his business, and there's nothing I can say to help him except, 'Hello,'" Maddon said during spring training. "He's a man of few words, so I don't want to interfere in his prep. We'll do a lot of talking before the season's over, but I respect what he does and how he does it."

The right-hander went a season-best eight innings in his only start against the Rockies, allowing one earned run and five hits in a 6-2 road victory Aug. 7. He'll again try to shut down the Colorado lineup as the Cubs (2-2) look to build off their best offensive effort of the young season.

After totaling three runs and 12 hits through their first three, the Cubs equaled that hit total in Saturday's 9-5 win. Chris Coghlan and Mike Olt hit back-to-back homers in the third, and former Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler had two triples and a pair of RBIs.

Starlin Castro homered and finished 3 for 5, but Olt was hit in the right wrist and left the game. Although fans have been waiting on a callup for Bryant - who is also a third baseman - Olt said he doesn't believe the injury is serious.

"As I said before, he deserves all the hype he can get," Olt said of Bryant. "He's one of the best in the minor leagues and one of the best I've seen."

Colorado (4-1) suffered its first defeat despite scoring five runs for the fourth straight contest. Former Cub DJ LeMahieu had three hits, while Justin Morneau and Nolan Arenado drove in two runs apiece.

LeMahieu is 6 for 8 in the series and has 11 singles in 21 at-bats overall. After the Rockies failed to open 5-0 for the first time, they'll hand the ball to Jordan Lyles.

Lyles (1-0, 3.00 ERA) gave up two runs in six innings of a 5-2 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday, and the 24-year-old was able to work himself out of a few jams.

"Lyles is young, but he's composed out there," shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "He's young, but he pitches like a veteran."

The right-hander gave up four runs in six innings of a 13-4 home win the last time he faced the Cubs on Aug. 6. Lyles won his first three starts at Coors Field last season while posting a 1.25 ERA, but he went 2-1 with a 6.94 ERA in his last seven at home.

Cubs catcher Miguel Montero is 7 for 14 with two doubles lifetime off Lyles.

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