Series Preview: Cubs v. Diamondbacks, April 7 - April 11, 2016

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Series Preview: Cubs v. Diamondbacks, April 7 – April 11, 2016

Chicago Cubs


Well that was one way to start the year off, eh?

Although I was exceedingly happy with the Cubs 2-0 start to the season, I was pretty bummed that we got just two games in, before the off day. But now, the Cubs will play four straight against the Diamondbacks (albeit, another set of late ones), without any breaks in between.

Baseball season is officially underway.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs (2-0) finished up their first series of the year, winning both games against the Angels. You’ve seen this stat before, but it bears repeating: The Cubs have not started off a season 2-0, since 1995.

The Diamondbacks (1-2), by contrast, lost their series with the Rockies, winning just one of three contests.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Thursday, April 7 at 8:40 CT on CSN+
  • Friday, April 8 at 8:40 CT on WGN
  • Saturday, April 9 at 7:10 on CSN
  • Sunday, April 10 at 3:10 on WGN

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.



  • John Lackey (2.77 ERA, 3.57 FIP; 3.30 K/BB (2015))
  • Jason Hammel (3.74 ERA, 3.68 FIP; 4.30 K/BB (2015))
  • Kyle Hendricks (3.95 ERA, 3.36 FIP; 3.88 K/BB (2015))
  • Jake Arrieta (1.77 ERA, 2.35 FIP; 4.92 K/BB (2015))

Approximate Lineup:

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Jason Heyward, RF
  3. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  5. Kris Bryant, 3B
  6. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  7. Miguel Montero, C
  8. Addison Russell, SS
  9. Pitcher



  • Rubby De La Rosa (4.67 ERA, 4.81 FIP; 2.38 K/BB (2015))
  • Robbie Ray (3.52 ERA, 3.53 FIP; 2.43 K/BB (2015))
  • Zack Greinke (1.66 ERA, 2.76 FIP; 5.00 K/BB (2015))
  • Shelby Miller (3.02 ERA, 3.45 FIP; 2.34 K/BB (2015))

Approximate Lineup:

  1. Jean Segura, 2B
  2. Chris Owings, CF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. David Peralta, RF
  5. Wellington Castillo, C
  6. Yasmany Tomas, LF
  7. Jake Lamb, 3B
  8. Pitcher
  9. Nick Ahmed, SS

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

This space becomes a little more usable once we’re into the meat of the season, but both teams have played a (collective) handful of games, so let’s see who got off to what kind of start.

Beginning with the Cubs, you can’t talk about hot starts and not mention Dexter Fowler. In his nine plate appearances from the Angels series, Fowler notched five hits (including a double and a home run), in addition to drawing a walk and scoring four times. Manager Joe Maddon repeated it time and again in 2015, but as Fowler goes, so go the Cubs. If he can keep his second half of 2015 pace up, the Cubs will be in for a world of success this season.

Also, it would be unfair not to mention Matt Szczur and his hot start to the year (after all, he was the first Stud of the Series this season). Although he just barely made the team, Szczur immediately impacted both games, going 3-5, with a single, a double, a home run and four runs batted in. I’d be modestly surprised to see him draw another start in this one, but I suspect Maddon will work him in throughout the later innings of most games.

On the “cold” end of the Cubs you’ll find Jason Heyward, Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber (who have combined to go 1 for 30 with just three walks to start the year off). That said, it’s pretty amazing that four (mostly) regulars could be so off their game in a two-game series where the Cubs outscored their opponents 15-1. That’s depth, fam.

John Lackey makes his Cubs debut tonight, and the series will round out with Jake Arrieta making his second start after a fantastic opening night.

For the Diamondbacks, it’s the middle infield that has been surprisingly hot to start the season. The double play combo of Nick Ahmed and Jean Segura have combined to go 12-27, including eight singles, one double, one triple, two home runs and six RBIs. But the good times don’t end there, because David Peralta also added five hits of his own in the Rockies series, and five other guys have two hits or more. Paul Goldschmidt hasn’t yet notched a ton of hits (2-14), but he made those two count (triple, home run) and added 3 walks, too.

Although the Cubs will have to face both Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, this series, neither got off to a particularly good start against the Rockies. The former lasted just 4 innings, giving up 7 earned runs(!!!) on 9 hits and a walk (including 3 home runs). Miller, lasted a bit longer (6.0 IP), but also gave up 6 earned runs on 8 hits, one walk (and, again, three home runs). In fact, each of Patrick Corbin (whom the Cubs will miss this series), Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller have given up 3 home runs in their respective starts this week. Hopefully, the Cubs’ power hitters can capitalize on those tendencies.

Previous Series Review (Cubs v. Angels):

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami