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Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks preview, Saturday 7/24, 1:20 CT

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The Cubs go for two straight against the visitors from Arizona.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Saturday notes...

  • HOT JAVY: Javier Báez, last 13 games: .392/.418/.686 (20-for-51), 10 runs, three doubles, four home runs.
  • PINCH HITTING: Cubs pinch-hitters are second among N.L. clubs with a .335 on-base percentage and third with a .244 BA (39-for-160). In the team’s last 36 plate appearances by pinch-hitters dating to July 4, they have gone 11-for-31 (.355) with four doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI and five walks.
  • THE KRAKEN: Craig Kimbrel has converted 90.2 percent of his save opportunities (370-for-410), the best rate in major league history for any reliever with at least 300 save opportunities. Joe Nathan is second (89.1 percent/377-for-423) and Mariano Rivera is third (89.1 percent/652-for-732).
  • THREE-RUN HOMERS: The three-run shot by Báez in Friday’s game was the Cubs’ first home run with more than one runner on base since Matt Duffy hit a three-run homer May 15 at Detroit, and the first such home run by a Cub at Wrigley Field since Willson Contreras hit a three-run shot against the Brewers April 23.

SITE NOTE: Today’s game recap might be delayed an hour or two as I am invited to an annual postgame BBQ near the ballpark.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Diamondbacks lineup:

Alec Mills, RHP vs. Merrill Kelly, RHP

USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY NETWORK

Alec Mills. Five innings, four runs. Doesn’t it seem like he does this every... oh, wait, you’ve heard this before. (And he hasn’t had that exact line this year either.)

Mills always seems to throw pretty well for three or four innings and then the wheels fall off. He has one career appearance vs. the D-backs, two innings of relief September 18, 2018, and most of those guys are long gone from Arizona. Only one D-backs player has more than a single at-bat vs. Mills (Josh VanMeter, 1-for-4). Maybe the unfamiliarity will help him.

Also, Mills has thrown much better at home this year (2.86 ERA in 22 innings) than on the road (5.93 ERA in 30⅓ innings). Small sample sizes here, of course.

Statcast

Merrill Kelly shut the Cubs down pretty well for eight innings last Sunday at Chase Field, then got in trouble in the ninth. The runners were his fault, they scored after he left the game, though.

Kelly is not a bad MLB pitcher, but he’s not quite that good, I don’t think. Like Mills, he has also pitched much better at home this year (10 starts, 63 innings, 3.71 ERA) than on the road (10 starts, 54 innings, 5.33 ERA) so maybe the Cubs can get to him this afternoon.

Statcast

Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Diamondbacks market territories).

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com 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.