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Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks preview, Saturday 4/20, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs go for their fifth straight win this afternoon.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

After the Cubs drew nine (!) walks off Diamondbacks pitchers Friday afternoon, tying their season high, I’m going to put them back on Walk Watch. That gives the Cubs 84 walks in 18 games, or 4.67 per game. We’re far enough into the season that this can be called a “pace.” That pace would give them 756 walks for the season, which would shatter the team record... by 100. I doubt they’d break it by that much, but all the walks certainly help the team’s run-scoring ability. The Cubs currently rank tied for second in the N.L. (with the Mets) in runs with 108, and lead the league in runs per game (six).

The Dodgers lead the N.L. with 100 walks, but they have played four more games than the Cubs.

The N.L. team record for walks in a season is 732, by the 1947 Dodgers. The MLB record is 835, by the 1949 Red Sox. The top 15 team totals for walks in major-league history are all by A.L. teams. The Cubs’ team record of 656, set in 2016, ranks tied for 108th.

Notes:

  • The Cubs bullpen has a 1.16 ERA (four earned runs in 31 innings) over the team’s last 10 games.
  • The Cubs have completed the first 18 games of 2019 (11 percent of the season) without playing extra innings for the first time since making it to Game 23 in 2016. The longest such streak in team history (from the start of a season) is 47 games, in 1968.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Diamondbacks lineup:

Yu Darvish, RHP vs. Zack Greinke, RHP

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Yu Darvish, apparently, can throw up to 99 miles per hour. That’s what he did in his last start, at least for a few batters. Nice to know he can dial it up if he wants to.

More important, his outings are getting better, each time. He was pretty good against the Marlins, except for the walks. And why all the walks?

The last time he faced the D-backs was August 10, 2017, when he was with the Dodgers. He struck out 10 in that outing, but a lot of the players on that D-backs team aren’t there anymore. In fact, one player who got three hits off him that night is his teammate now, Daniel Descalso.

No current D-backs player has more than six career AB against Darvish. Perhaps that will be to his advantage.

Zack Greinke’s overall numbers are pretty bad this year, but that’s mostly due to a horrific first start. His last three: 3.66 ERA, 0.966 WHIP, two walks and 25 strikeouts in 19⅔ innings.

Historically, Greinke has not pitched well at Wrigley. In five career starts there, he has an 8.31 ERA and 1.692 WHIP, his worst at any ballpark where he has five or more starts. Current Cubs are hitting .311 (28-for-90) against him, and maybe this is the day that Anthony Rizzo (5-for-11 vs. Greinke) starts hitting.

Today’s game is on ABC7 Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Diamondbacks site AZ Snakepit. If you do go there to interact with D-backs fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2019 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used in previous years. 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.

Discuss amongst yourselves.