Series Preview: Cubs at Diamondbacks, September 17 – September 19, 2018

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Series Preview: Cubs at Diamondbacks, September 17 – September 19, 2018

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs are heading out west for three straight late-night games against the Diamondbacks. And although the D-backs have fallen on hard times lately, they certainly still have something to fight for (we’ll get to that in a second). For now, do not expect an easy series, by any means.

With that said, at the end of these three games is the much-needed off-day. That is, of course, unless the universe wants to be especially cruel and make Arizona’s one rainy day this year fall on Tuesday or Wednesday, with some kind of serious roof malfunction. I’m kidding, I think. If the Cubs manage to come out of this series with a couple of wins, I think they’ll be perfectly set up for the final, final stretch. If they lose two or more, however, the Brewers be breathing right down their next again by Thursday. It’s crunch time, friends. Toughen up.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (87-62) couldn’t complete the sweep against the Reds, but have moved to 17-10 on Day 28 of this 30 scheduled games in 30 days stretch. They have a 2.5 game lead over the Brewers, and their magic number is down to 11.

The Arizona Diamondbacks (78-72) have fallen off a cliff in the second half of the season (25-28), and are now on the doorstep of elimination. They’re 4.5 games out first in the division and 4.0 games back of the second Wild Card. Frankly, if they don’t win at least a couple of these three games, they’re probably toast. They’re probably toast anyway.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Monday, September 17th at 8:40 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
  • Tuesday, September 18th at 8:40 CT on WGN, 670 The Score
  • Wednesday, September 19th at 8:40 CT on NBC Sports Chicago, 670 The Score

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Kyle Hendricks (3.71 ERA, 4.43 FIP; 2.75 K/BB)
  • Mike Montgomery (3.57 ERA, 4.53 FIP; 2.29 K/BB)
  • Cole Hamels (3.97 ERA, 4.41 FIP; 2.08 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – Daniel Murphy/Javy Baez
  • 3B – Kris Bryant/David Bote
  • SS – Javy Baez/Addison Russell
  • LF – Kris Bryant/Ben Zobrist
  • CF – Ian Happ/Albert Almora
  • RF – Ben Zobrist/Kris Bryant/Jason Heyward

Unavailable: Brandon Morrow, Yu Darvish, Justin Hancock, Drew Smyly, Mark Zagunis, Kyle Schwarber Pedro Strop (sigh).

Arizona Diamondbacks

Probable Pitchers:

  • Patrick Corbin (3.05 ERA, 2.40 FIP; 5.48 K/BB)
  • TBA
  • Robbie Ray (4.14 ERA, 4.34 FIP; 2.41 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Jeff Mathis
  • 1B – Paul Goldschmidt
  • 2B – Ketel Marte
  • 3B – Eduardo Escobar
  • SS – Nick Ahmed
  • LF – David Peralta
  • CF – A.J. Pollock
  • RF – Steven Souza Jr.

Unavailable: Clay Buchholz, Jarrod Dyson, Jake Lamb, Shelby Miller, Taijuan Walker

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Carl Edwards Jr. had a clean outing in Cincinnati, wherein he faced the minimum, while striking out one and walking nobody. Because he’s otherwise healthy – and seemingly dealing with a mechanical/mental issue – one good outing might go a long way. And with the loss of Pedro Strop and uncertainty of Brandon Morrow’s return (which could happen as soon as this series), now is the right time to “get right.”

Cubs Player: Willson Contreras’ lack of hard contact has been a huge issue in the second half of the season, but I’m happy to report that it has begun to turn around:

I’m guessing that has everything in the world to do with the extra rest he’s gotten lately, which is a direct product of his backup, Victor Caratini, hitting well enough to make that feasible. So thanks, Caratini. You’re helping 2x.

Diamondbacks Pitcher: Patrick Corbin has been very, very good lately. And get this: Since the All-Star break (63.2 IP) he has 81 (!) strikeouts against just 7 (!!) walks. Tonight might be frustrating.

Diamondbacks Player: Paul Goldschmidt is working on a three-game hitting streak, and has a 178 wRC+ over his past 72 plate appearances. Cubs pitchers would be wise to avoid him as much as possible right now, because he’s still so very Goldschmidty.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is the butler to a wealthy werewolf off the coast of Wales and a writer at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami