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Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona Diamondbacks preview, Thursday 9/7, 6:40 CT

It’s the first of a four-game weekend series.

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Thursday notes...

  • IT’S BEEN A WHILE: The Cubs are a season-high 12 games above .500. They have not been 13 above since Sept. 17, 2019, when they were 82-69 after a 4-2 loss at home to the Reds — the first of nine straight defeats. The Cubs’ high in 2019 was 14 above. They were last more than 14 above the end of the 2018 season, when they finished 95-68 (27 above). They reached 15 over for the first time that season on July 8; lost, won and lost their next three; then won on July 13, making them 53-38. They won their next three and never were fewer than 16 over the rest of the way. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • SEIYA SUZUKI IS ホットな打者: Seiya Suzuki, last 19 games since August 19: .375/.425/.750 (27-for-72) with 10 doubles, a triple, five home runs, 17 RBI and 16 runs scored. (The Japanese above is what Google Translate gave me for “a hot hitter.”)
  • CODY BELLINGER IS A HOT HITTER: Cody Bellinger is on an eight-game hitting streak in which he is batting .364/.389/.758 (12-for-33) with a double, four home runs, 10 RBI and eight runs scored.
  • (ALMOST) THE HOTTEST TEAM IN MLB SINCE JUNE: The Cubs were 26-36 on June 8 after being swept by the Angels. Since then they are 50-28, third behind the Orioles (50-27) and Braves (52-24) for the best record in baseball over that time span of almost three months.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Diamondbacks lineup:

Javier Assad, RHP vs. Ryne Nelson, RHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

Javier Assad has been a revelation over the last few weeks. Placed in the rotation to stay after Marcus Stroman went to the IL, Assad has a 1.95 ERA and 1.027 WHIP in six starts, with an opponents BA of .212.

He has never faced the Diamondbacks and the only Arizona hitter who’s ever faced him is Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (1-for-3), so we don’t have any real data here.

But the way Assad has pitched... I’d expect another excellent outing.

So here’s what I wonder about Ryne Nelson. He was born in 1998. That’s a year after Ryne Sandberg retired. Could he have been named after the Cubs Hall of Famer?

Anyway. Ryne Nelson has made 24 starts for the Diamondbacks this year and, to be charitable, the results have not been good. The last seven produced a 7.60 ERA and 1.660 WHIP, with 11 (!) home runs in 34⅓ innings. That got him sent to Triple-A Reno, where the results were somewhat better. He’s being recalled to make this start.

Nelson has never faced the Cubs and the only Cub who’s ever faced him is Cody Bellinger (0-for-2), so again there’s really no data here. But based on previous results, the Cubs should do well tonight.

Also, someone get Ryne a better-fitting hat.


Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. You can find out if Marquee is available via a provider in your area here. It’s also on MLB Network (outside the Cubs and Diamondbacks market territories).

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 2023 Game Thread procedure will be like last year’s, similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training — also see the note at the top of this preview.

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.