Series Preview: Cubs at Diamondbacks, July 16 - July 18, 2021

Social Navigation

Series Preview: Cubs at Diamondbacks, July 16 – July 18, 2021

Chicago Cubs

Aaaaaand we’re back.

After almost a week-long break, the Cubs are back in action against the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. They’re likely too far out of first place to hope for a comeback (indeed, the sell-off has already begun), but there are still things to root for. Namely: healthy, productive performances out of Zach Davies, Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Chafin, Kris Bryant, Javy Báez, and Anthony Rizzo, among others.

That might sound callous, but it’s our reality. The Cubs are playing to sell and they need their biggest chips available. These next two weeks could define the next few years if handled wisely. That doesn’t mean all those guys will be traded (or even SHOULD be traded), but you want the Cubs to have options.

It’s a late game tonight (8:40 CT), but it’s Kyle Hendricks vs. Madison Bumgarner, which is pretty fun.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (44-46) are two games below .500 and 8.0 games out of first place. Even if they won every game between now and the deadline (15-0) they’d need the Brewers to go 6-9 to tie. The Arizona Diamondbacks (26-66) might be one of the worst teams I’ve ever seen. They’re 40 games below .500 at the All-Star break and 32.5 games out of first place.

So I’d say this series is a toss up.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Friday, July 16th at 8:40 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Saturday, July 17th at 3:10 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Sunday, July 18th at 3:10 CT on MARQ, MLBN, 670 The Score

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Kyle Hendricks (R) vs. Madison Bumgarner (L)
Game 2: Adbert Alzolay (R) vs. TBA
Game 3: Zach Davies vs. TBA

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Anthony Rizzo
•   2B – Nico Hoerner
•   3B – Kris Bryant
•   SS – Javy Báez
•   LF – Ian Happ
•   CF – Jake Marisnick
•   RF – Jason Heyward

Unavailable: David Bote, Dillon Maples, Eric Sogard, Kohl Stewart, Jake Arrieta, Brad Wieck, Rowan Wick, Jonathan Holder, Austin Romine, Matt Duffy, Jose Lobaton, P.J. Higgins

Arizona Diamondbacks

•   C – Stephen Vogt
•   1B – Christian Walker
•   2B – Josh VanMeter
•   3B – Eduardo Escobar
•   SS – Nick Ahmed
•   LF – David Peralta
•   CF – Pavin Smith
•   RF – Josh Reddick

Unavailable: Taylor Clarke, Carson Kelly, Ketel Marte, Tyler Clippard, Luke Weaver, CHris Devenski, Seth Frankoff

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: -24
Diamondbacks: -150

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.20
Diamondbacks: 4.14

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.47
Diamondbacks: 5.77

Keep An Eye Out For …

Madison Bumgarner’s last start was all the way back on June 2nd, and it didn’t go well (2.0 IP, 8H, 5ER, 0BB, 2Ks). And neither did the three starts before that (combined): 14.0 IP, 16 runs, 15H, 8 walks, 11Ks. That’s probably why he hit the IL with right shoulder inflammation and hasn’t pitched since. With that said, he did have a really nice five-game stretch earlier in the year, when he pitched to a 0.90 ERA over 30 innings with 34 strikeouts against just just 2 walks. I never take former aces lightly and I won’t with Bumgarner tonight.

Eduardo Escobar ended the first half hot, with 10 hits including 3 HRs, two walks, and a double over his last 29 plate appearances (201 wRC+). He is barely striking out and hitting the ball hard, but he also struggles mightily with changeups and he’ll get Zach Davies and Kyle Hendricks this weekend.

In case you forgot, Javy Báez was smoking hot heading into the All-Star break, with a five-game hitting streak featuring four multi-hit games. And he’s slashing .291/.365/.636; 5HRs, 9.5 BB% over his last 63 PAs. #Cubs

And finally, just something to keep in mind with respect to Zach Davies.

Author: Michael Cerami

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