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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks series preview

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Hey, look! A team the Cubs can beat. Probably. Maybe.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

I asked Jim McLennan, manager of our SB Nation Diamondbacks site AZ Snakepit, for some info on his team. One of the first things he said when he responded was “Gloom everywhere...”

Nevertheless, he did send this along, so I pass it on to you as the Cubs begin the second half of the season at Chase Field:

So.... What about those Suns, eh? For to twist an old proverb, if a team has a really sucky season, and no one is around to see it, does it make a sound? That’s the current state of the D-backs, who are on pace for a 46-116 season, which would be five games below their previous franchise worst. Team management is probably glad for the diversion currently being offered across the street from Chase Field by the Suns.

Injuries have been a factor. The team has literally not been able to put out its best lineup for a single game this year, and just before the break, four-fifths of the expected starting rotation was on the injured list. But the D-backs’ lack of depth has been ruthlessly exposed, with a lot of replacement players not even reaching replacement level. As a result, the first half included a franchise record 17 straight losses and an MLB record road losing streak of 24 games.

Truth be told, while bad, the team probably isn’t 26-66 bad. They’re a startling 3-20 in one-run games, and despite a 22-1 hammering by the Dodgers last weekend, their Pythagorean record is six games better than the actual. But it still ain’t great. It’s a good day if our starter goes five innings, and with an MLB-worst bullpen ERA of 5.46, our relievers have offered little relief. An OPS+ of 84 is also tied for last in the majors this season, so it’s not as if the Diamondbacks will outhit the opposition either.

It promises to be a very long final 70 games for Arizona fans. When does football season start again?

Fun fact

It has been 810 days since these two teams last played a regular-season game, April 28, 2019 in Phoenix. Twenty Cubs played in that game, won by the Cubs in 15 innings. Only six of those 20 players are currently on the Cubs’ active roster.

Probable pitching matchups

Friday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (11-4, 3.77 ERA, 1.248 WHIP, 4.83 FIP) vs. Madison Bumgarner, LHP (4-5, 5.73 ERA, 1.257 WHIP, 4.47 FIP)

Saturday: Adbert Alzolay, RHP (4-9, 4.66 ERA, 1.086 WHIP, 5.10 FIP) vs. TBD

Sunday: Zach Davies, RHP (5-6, 4.37 ERA, 1.446 WHIP, 4.87 FIP) vs. TBD

I waited and waited and waited and still, this is what the Diamondbacks have announced for starting pitchers in this series as of the posting time of this series preview.

You’d think they’ll figure out someone to go Saturday and Sunday by the time those days hit the calendar, but you never know.

Times & TV channels

Friday: 8:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Saturday: 3:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 3:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Diamondbacks market territories)

Prediction

Well, look. The D-backs were 14-12 on April 30 (the Cubs were 11-15 on that date). Since then Arizona has gone 12-54. (The Cubs are 33-31 since 4/30.)

The D-backs are 15-28 at home. Seriously, the Cubs ought to win at least two of three.

Up next

The Cubs head to St. Louis for a four-game series against the Cardinals which begins Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Diamondbacks?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    3
    (47 votes)
  • 38%
    2
    (56 votes)
  • 22%
    1
    (33 votes)
  • 6%
    0
    (9 votes)
145 votes total Vote Now