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Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks preview, Friday 7/16, 8:40 CT

Here’s hoping the second half begins better than the Cubs play of the last four weeks.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s roster move: Here

Friday notes...

  • THE PROFESSOR: Kyle Hendricks’ career high 11-start unbeaten streak (nine wins, two no-decisions) is the longest by a Cub since Yu Darvish also went 11-straight, April 27-June 21, 2019. The last Cub to go 12-plus consecutive starts without a loss was Jon Lester (14 from July 9-Sept. 25, 2016.
  • WHAT A STRANGE STRETCH OF GAMES: In the final five games heading into the All-Star break, the Cubs twice put up 10 runs, scored eight runs in another game and were shut out in two contests. In those five games, the Cubs won two by five runs apiece and lost games by eight runs, six runs and five runs.
  • WILLSON!: Willson Contreras recorded the 500th hit of his career with a third-inning single last Saturday vs. the Cardinals. He reached that milestone in 573 games, with a career .261 BA (500-for-1,919) with 100 doubles, eight triples, 87 homers, 284 RBI and an .807 OPS.
  • THE SHERIFF: Andrew Chafin extended his scoreless streak to 23 innings last Friday at Wrigley Field, tied for the longest active stretch in the major leagues with Tampa Bay’s Colin McHugh. The streak is tied for the longest by a reliever this year and is second-longest overall (Jacob deGrom, 31 innings).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Diamondbacks lineup:

The D-backs will be wearing their City Connect uniforms tonight:

Also of interest for this series (time listed is ET):

Kyle Hendricks, RHP vs. Madison Bumgarner, LHP

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If this were 2016, this would be a big-time pitching matchup between pitchers who finished third and fourth in Cy Young voting that year.

But it’s not, and here we are.

If the season had skipped April, Kyle Hendricks would probably have made the All-Star team. 13 starts since May 1: 2.73 ERA, 1.105 WHIP in 82⅓ innings.

Or if he hadn’t faced the Braves this year, same thing. Kyle in 16 starts against teams other than Atlanta: 2.77 ERA, 1.130 WHIP — but also, five of the 20 homers he has allowed and five of the 20 walks he’s given up were vs. the Braves, so those numbers would also look more “normal” for Kyle if not for those two starts.

Back to the task at hand, Kyle faced the D-backs twice in 2019. He threw seven shutout innings against them at Wrigley Field, then gave up 10 hits and seven runs in five innings at Chase Field. That was by far his worst game ever in Phoenix, as the other two were pretty good.

Which Kyle will we see tonight?

Madison Bumgarner had a horrific start to 2021. First three starts: 11.20 ERA, 2.195 WHIP. Then he put together a fantastic five-start run: 0.90 ERA, 0.467 WHIP, two walks and 34 strikeouts in 30 innings, including the seven-inning no-hitter that isn’t officially a no-hitter. But then, disaster: Four starts, 10.13 ERA, 1.813 WHIP, after which he hit the injured list with a shoulder issue.

He’s being activated from the IL for this start. He last pitched against the Cubs July 23, 2019 while he was still a Giant: Seven innings, three runs, seven strikeouts. Current Cubs are hitting .232 (19-for-82) against him with one home run (Jason Heyward).

This year’s Cubs are still hitting LHP pretty well (.746 OPS, vs. .683 OPS vs. RHP), so maybe that’s a bit of an advantage.

Fun fact: Madison Bumgarner is exactly one week older than Anthony Rizzo.

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday 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 2021 Game Thread procedure will be a bit different than previous years. It will be similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

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, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.