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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks series preview

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The Cubs will play the Diamondbacks in six of their next 12 games.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade deadline passed and the Cubs likely done adding parts to the ballclub for the August and September pennant race, let’s turn our attention back to upcoming play. A three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks begins Tuesday evening at Wrigley Field.

Since the teams will play their entire season series in the next two weeks and it’s conceivable the clubs could meet in the postseason, we’re going to see a lot of the D-backs and so I asked Jim McLennan, manager of our SB Nation D-backs site AZ Snakepit, to tell us a bit about his team.

The D-backs come to Wrigley off a four-game split in St. Louis, and with a narrow edge over the Rockies for the first wild-card spot. They’ve probably been playing better than our record indicates this month: The D-backs are 10-14 in July, but have outscored the opposition by 19, with nine of those losses being by one run. Oddly, closer Fernando Rodney hasn't even had a save opportunity in over three weeks, since July 7.

But it has been the pitching which has been leading the team: they allowed only five earned runs in the four games against the Cardinals, and split was largely the result of going 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position over the two losses. The team lost starter Robbie Ray, hit in the head by a line drive in the second game. He's okay, but is on the concussion DL, although the off-day Monday means there's no need to pull up a spot starter for this series in Chicago. Zack Greinke, in particular, has returned this year to the form expected when signed to a six-year, $206.5 million contract.

The arrival of J.D. Martinez alongside Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt gives a heart of the order any team should fear, but Arizona also will be without middle infielder Chris Owings, who had his finger broken by a pitch in St, Louis. This will likely mean more playing time for Ketel Marte. Center fielder A.J. Pollock may return to the top of the rotation against the Cubs' left-handers, with current incumbent David Peralta struggling of late. But it's likely to be a series decided by pitching: I can easily see it going to the rubber game on Thursday as the decider.

Fun fact

The Cubs have played 211 regular-season games since they last met the Diamondbacks on June 5, 2016. They have gone 120-90-1 in those games, a .571 winning percentage that would equate to a 93-win full season.

Pitching matchups

Tuesday: Jon Lester, LHP (8-6, 3.88 ERA, 1.208 WHIP, 4.00 FIP) vs. Patrick Corbin, RHP (8-9, 4.36 ERA, 1.513 WHIP, 4.18 FIP)

Wednesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (10-7, 4.03 ERA, 1.227 WHIP, 4.23 FIP) vs. Zack Godley, RHP (4-4, 3.06 ERA, 1.008 WHIP, 3.02 FIP)

Thursday: Jose Quintana, LHP (6-9, 4.16 ERA, 1.257 WHIP, 3.80 FIP) vs. Zack Greinke, RHP (13-4, 2.84 ERA, 1.005 WHIP, 3.18 FIP)

  • Jose Quintana’s numbers include his 18 starts with the White Sox. As a Cub: 2-1, 2.37 ERA, 0.895 WHIP, 2.68 FIP

Times & TV channels

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Wednesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, WGN

Thursday: 1:20 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and Phoenix markets)

Prediction

The Cubs just came off an excellent July at 16-8. As noted above, the Diamondbacks had a rough go of July at 10-14 and are 7-9 since the All-Star break, including being swept by the same Braves team that the Cubs swept right after that series. They just split a four-game set with the Cardinals in St. Louis despite giving up only five runs.

That’s kind of a mess of numbers, and here’s one more set: Arizona is 24-27 on the road while the Cubs are 27-22 at home. Thus I’m going to call for the Cubs to win two of three.

Up next

The Cubs host the Washington Nationals in a three-game series at Wrigley Field beginning Friday afternoon.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Diamondbacks?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    3
    (132 votes)
  • 66%
    2
    (377 votes)
  • 7%
    1
    (45 votes)
  • 2%
    0
    (12 votes)
566 votes total Vote Now