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Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks preview, Friday 4/26, 8:40 CT

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The Cubs begin a five-game western road trip.

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Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Chase Field’s roof will be open tonight (and tomorrow), per the Diamondbacks website. That might be a good environment for hitters, as temperatures tonight should be in the 80s.

Notes:

  • After a 1-6 start on the road, the Cubs have now won four of their last five road games (splitting the last two in Milwaukee, sweeping three in Miami).
  • Javier Baez had two hits Thursday and is now just the third Cub since 1908 to rack up at least 31 hits, eight homers and 21 RBI in the team’s first 23 games of a season. The others: Chuck Klein in 1934 (32 hits, 8 home runs, 22 RBI) and Hank Sauer in 1954 (31 hits, 10 home runs, 25 RBI).
  • The Cubs have won their last three series at Chase Field dating to 2016, going 7-3 in that stretch. Baez has hit .364 (8-for-22) with three homers and eight RBI in six games at Chase Field while Kris Bryant has batted .357 (20-for-56) with two homers and nine RBI in 13 games there. Maybe this is the weekend KB gets out of his slump.
  • Pitching! Cubs pitchers have allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of the team’s last 14 games. During this 14-game stretch, the pitchers have averaged 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings (137 strikeouts in 126 innings), walked 40 and held the opponent to a .205 average (92-for-449).
  • More pitching! Cubs starting pitchers in the team’s last 12 games have posted a 1.68 ERA (14 earned runs in 75 innings), walking 21 and striking out 82 while holding the opponent to a .183 average (48-for-262).
  • Even more pitching! The Cubs bullpen has posted a 2.08 ERA (11 earned runs in 47⅔ innings) and .609 OPS against in its last 15 games starting April 7.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

An all-righthanded lineup (except for Anthony Rizzo) against lefthander Robbie Ray.

Diamondbacks lineup:

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Robbie Ray, LHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Hendricks’ last start was outstanding (seven shutout innings vs. the Angels) and in his last two starts: 12 innings, 1.000 WHIP, 1.50 ERA, three walks, 13 strikeouts. So he seems back in his usual groove.

His last start in Chase Field, September 17, 2018, was also outstanding, as he came within one out of a complete game. He allowed three hits and just one run. Current members of the D-backs are hitting .179 (14-for-78) with no home runs and 24 strikeouts. In two career starts at Chase Field, Kyle has a 1.76 ERA and 0.587 WHIP.

This seems like a good time and place for Kyle to put together another excellent outing.

There’s not much more I can say about Robbie Ray than I wrote in the preview last Sunday, since the Cubs will be seeing him in consecutive starts. Ray threw a good game at Wrigley, allowing just four hits and one run in six innings.

In his career, though, Ray has been a significantly worse pitcher at Chase Field than on the road: 4.87 ERA, 1.485 WHIP, 47 HR in 303 innings at home, 3.30 ERA, 1.227 WHIP, 35 HR in 340⅔ innings on the road. So perhaps the Cubs can take advantage of this.

Ray has made just one start at home this year, April 10 vs. the Rangers. He allowed one run in five innings and struck out 10. So, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Today’s game is on NBC Sports Chicago Plus. If you have “cut the cord,” NBC Sports Chicago games can be streamed in the Cubs’ market territory via Fubo. Sign up for Fubo here.

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.