Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

arizona-diamondbacks-mascotThe Cubs are riding relatively high, and now, in theory, get a tasty matchup in Arizona.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs took two of three from the Padres, pushing their record to 23-17, the second time they’ve been six games over .500. That’s quite neat. They’re 3.5 back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, which is – relatively speaking – also quite neat.

The reason I included the “in theory” up there at the start with respect to the quality of the Diamondbacks is that I’m not quite sure what they are, and their recent stretch only underscores it – they just swept the Marlins in four after being swept by the Phillies(!) in three. Overall, while expected to be awful, the Diamondbacks are just 19-21 – really not that terrible. Here’s hoping they show some of that terrible in this series.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, May 22 at 8:40 CT on CSN+.
  • Saturday, May 23 at 9:10 CT on CSN, MLBN.
  • Sunday, May 24 at 3:10 CT on WGN-9.

And, if you’re not in the blackout region, you can always watch on

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.


Starters: Jon Lester (3.70 ERA, 3.39 FIP; 3.62 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (2.77 ERA, 2.20 FIP; 4.58 K/BB), Jason Hammel (2.70 ERA, 3.01 FIP; 8.17 K/BB)


  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Miguel Montero, C
  6. Jorge Soler, RF
  7. Chris Coghlan, LF
  8. Pitcher
  9. Addison Russell, 2B


Starters: Josh Collmenter (5.36 ERA, 4.51 FIP; 3.67 K/BB), Rubby De La Rosa (4.08 ERA, 3.99 FIP; 3.92 K/BB), Jeremy Hellickson (5.52 ERA, 4.60 FIP; 2.00 K/BB)


  1. Ender Inciarte, RF
  2. A.J. Pollock, CF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Mark Trumbo, LF (David Peralta rotates in, too)
  5. Yasman Tomas, 3B (and in the OF)
  6. Aaron Hill, 2B
  7. Tuffy Gosewisch, C
  8. Nick Ahmed, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

You never know how things will play out, but, on paper, you love the pitching match-ups here for the Cubs – I’d favor the Cubs in every single game.

Not that you can do this, but considering his age, I think it’s fair. If you chop off Addison Russell’s first week in the big leagues, his line looks like this: .284/.346/.500. Hello.

In four May starts, Jon Lester has a 1.67 ERA but a 4.35 FIP. In four April starts, Lester had a 6.23 ERA but a 2.20 FIP. Baseball is funny.

For the Diamondbacks this year, it’s not quite just the Paul Goldschmidt show (though he is, as usual, raking). Each of Yasmany Tomas, A.J. Pollock, David Peralta, and Mark Trumbo have been above-average offensive performers.

On the whole, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen is pretty weak, so the game plan is to beat up on the bad starters, and then beat up on the bad bullpen. Ok. Ready? Break!

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