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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks series preview

The Cubs host the Diamondbacks for an important four-game series at Wrigley Field.

Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

It has been 473 days since the Cubs and Diamondbacks last faced each other. That game was played at Wrigley Field May 22, 2022, a 5-4 Cubs victory. Go look at that boxscore link, it’s amusing. Of the 11 Cubs who played in that game, seven of them are no longer on the team or even in the Cubs organization, that’s how long it’s been. The Cubs have played 262 games since then, and are 134-128 in those games.

So hello, strangers. And just for fun, after not seeing them for almost 16 months, seven of the Cubs’ next 10 games will be against the D-backs. Thanks, schedule makers.

For more on the D-backs, here’s Jim McLennan, manager of our SB Nation Diamondbacks site AZ Snakepit.

It’s hard to know how this series will go, until we find out which version of the D-backs will show up at Wrigley. Will it be the one who handily disposed of fellow playoff contenders, Texas and Cincinnati, winning five of six? Or the one who immediately followed that by losing five of six against the Dodgers and Orioles? Such as been the way of the D-backs in the second half. They’ll look really good or really bad. Sometimes in the same game: As I wrote this, they came back from 4-0 down after two outs against Colorado and won the game 12-5. Go figure.

This season has been enough to give a fan whiplash. Going into this season, we expected to be somewhat above .500, not leading the division at the All-Star break. But the team has got solid campaigns from Christian Walker, Ketel Marte and Gabriel Moreno, as well as likely Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll. Pitching has been an issue, as it always seems to be under Mike Hazen. Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly have mostly been solid: thereafter the rotation has been hit and miss, with the team forced to rely on rookies more than they’d like. The same inconsistency goes for the bullpen, where deadline acquisition Paul Sewald has taken over from the previous closer by committee, but has yet to record a clean save in 11 attempts.

Still, the team is playing meaningful baseball games in September, and considering two years ago at this time they were on the way to 110 losses, it’s difficult to complain too much. If they can split the four games on the road, I think that would be acceptable for the D-backs. That would give Arizona a chance of taking the season series — and with it, the potentially important tie-breaker — back at Chase next week.

Fun fact

This will be the Cubs’ 10th four-game series against the Diamondbacks, who joined the National League in 1998.

Neither team has swept any of the previous nine. The Cubs won three of four at home in 2010 and at Arizona in 2016. The Diamondbacks went 3-1 at Wrigley Field in 2005 and last season.

Last year was the only time either team won the first three of four games. The Diamondbacks prevailed, 3-1, 10-6 and 7-6 before the Cubs won the finale, 5-4.

Each team has swept three-game series five times, doing so four times at home and once on the road. The most recent sweep by each was at home: by the Cubs, in 2015, and by the Diamondbacks, in 2014.

(Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Thursday: Javier Assad, RHP (3-2, 2.69 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, 4.20 FIP) vs. Ryne Nelson, RHP (6-7, 5.47 ERA, 1.456 WHIP, 5.15 FIP)

Friday: Jameson Taillon, RHP (7-9, 5.73 ERA, 1.351 WHIP, 4.83 FIP) vs. Zac Gallen, RHP (14-7, 3.48 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 3.32 FIP)

Saturday: Justin Steele, LHP (16-3, 2.55 ERA, 1.138 WHIP, 2.98 FIP) vs. Merrill Kelly, RHP (11-6, 3.22 ERA, 1.173 WHIP, 3.76 FIP)

Sunday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (5-7, 3.73 ERA, 1.141 WHIP, 3.98 FIP) vs. Brandon Pfaadt, RHP (1-8, 6.27 ERA, 1.460 WHIP, 5.48 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Thursday: 6:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Diamondbacks market territories)

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Diamondbacks market territories)

Saturday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Sunday: 1:20 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network


The Cubs are hot and, as Jim McLennan says, the Diamondbacks are sort of hot and sort of not. The pitching matchups look (mostly) good for the Cubs, especially since they're not facing any LH starters. They’ll take three of four.

Up next

The Cubs travel to Colorado to face the Rockies in a three-game series beginning Monday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Diamondbacks?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    (36 votes)
  • 56%
    (170 votes)
  • 26%
    (79 votes)
  • 3%
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    (5 votes)
300 votes total Vote Now