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Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks preview, Saturday 8/12, 7:10 CT

The Cubs go for two in a row in Arizona.

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Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Since there’s not a lot of news this afternoon, I thought I’d devote this preview to Brian Duensing, who doesn’t get a lot of attention though he’s been probably the Cubs’ most reliable reliever most of this season. Tony Andracki of CSN Chicago writes:

Based on FanGraphs' WAR, Duensing (0.7) is tied with Mike Montgomery and Koji Uehara as the second-best Cubs reliever behind only Wade Davis (0.9). Hector Rondon (0.5 WAR), Pedro Strop (0.5) and Carl Edwards Jr. (0.4) are further down that list.

Duensing admitted feeling a little unsure of himself when he first joined the Cubs, as he didn't want to be the guy not producing on a team vying for its second straight World Series. He battled a back injury and started the year on the disabled list before posting an 8.10 ERA in seven April games.

But since then, his ERA is at 1.54 with only 32 hits in 41 innings.

He’s been great, as noted, since April, and a bargain signing at $2 million. At 34 he’s probably heading into the tail end of his career, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the Cubs bring him back next year.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Almora CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist RF, Happ 2B, Schwarber LF, Baez SS, Avila C, Lester P

Diamondbacks lineup:

Peralta LF, Rosales 3B, Pollock CF, Goldschmidt 1B, Martinez RF, Marte SS, Drury 2B, Mathis C, Corbin P

Jon Lester vs. Patrick Corbin

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This game is a pitching rematch of the contest August 1 at Wrigley Field. In that game, the Cubs smacked three home runs off Patrick Corbin, including Jon Lester’s first career homer. Anthony Rizzo and Ian Happ also homered off Corbin, who allowed eight runs in three innings.

We’ll take another one just like that, please.

Since then Lester had a pretty good outing vs. the Nationals (6⅔ innings, three runs, seven strikeouts) and Corbin gave up six runs, including a home run, to the Giants. Corbin has been significantly better at home this year (3.14 ERA in 12 starts) than on the road (6.79 ERA in 11 starts), and Lester better at home (3.76 ERA in 14 starts) than on the road (4.25 ERA in 10 starts), though as you see Lester’s splits aren’t as extreme as Corbin’s. Also, Lester in five road starts since June 13: 34 innings, 2.12 ERA, 31 strikeouts, seven innings in four of those five.

Today's game is on WGN. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Chicago and Phoenix markets).

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. Here's how it works.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

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Discuss amongst yourselves.