Series Preview: Diamondbacks at Cubs, May 19 – May 22, 2022

The Chicago Cubs have themselves a nice little run here, with three straight series victories against the Padres, Diamondbacks, and Pirates. And now, they’re welcoming the D-Backs into Wrigley Field, where they’ll face their two best right-handed pitchers (Kyle Hendricks and a returning-from-the-IL-Marcus Stroman) as well as two lefties coming off really excellent starts:

Steele’s last start: 6.0 IP, 3H, 1ER, 2BB, 10Ks (@ARI)
Miley’s last start: 7.0 IP, 1H, 0BB, 6Ks (vs. PIT)

Against left-handed pitching, Arizona’s offense (78 wRC+) is better only than the Red Sox and Reds this season. So those two should be set up for some success. Though I’ll note that in Steele’s case, it’s sometimes hard for a pitcher to face the same team in close succession.

I’ll also point out that one of their three hitters that has had success against lefties, Ketel Marte, is currently day-to-day. Plus, the Diamondbacks are also missing a couple other starters (and one reliever) because of COVID.

With all this in mind – and the series at Wrigley Field – you have to like the Cubs chances this weekend.

After this series, the Cubs will play the Reds in four straight at Great American Ballpark before hitting an off-day next Friday (which, come on … who wants a Friday off-day?).

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (15-21) may have dropped the finale against the Pirates, but they’ve won three series in a row and are now welcoming the scuffling Diamondbacks into Wrigley Field.

Since winning the series opener against the Cubs on May 13, the Arizona Diamondbacks (18-21) have lost six straight games, two against the Cubs and four straight against the Dodgers. They may be turning back into a pumpkin just a bit.

Hot or Not and What to Watch

No multi-hit games in a while, but Seiya Suzuki quietly has a 7-game hitting streak, including three 2Bs and two BBs. And cherrypicking his last 37 PAs (since May 7), he’s slashing .273/.351/.455 (128 wRC+). Still too many strikeouts, but I think he’s looking a lot better.

We already discussed the nice recent starts from Miley and Steele, but Hendricks and Stroman are coming off some good outings as well:

Stroman’s last 2 starts: 13.0 IP, 8H, 2ER, 1BB, 8Ks
Hendricks last 2 starts: 14.0 IP, 8H, 1ER, 3BB, 9Ks

Obviously, Stroman had some time off on the COVID-IL, but I’m hoping he found – and can quickly continue – his rhythm.

Ian Happ‘s season as a whole has gone very well so far, but he’s been especially hot lately, slashing .323/.423/.484 (164 wRC+) over his last nine games, with more walks (6) than strikeouts (5). He remains one of only seven players with an OBP above .400 for the year.

The Cubs drew Madison Bumgarner this weekend, but despite some really strong results so far (2.29 ERA, .211 AVG against), the underlying statistics are not looking hot: 14.3K%, 9.5BB%, 38.4 hard%, 37.3 groundball rate. And he’s benefiting from a ridiculous .222 BABIP and 82.4 strand rate. None of that is going to last.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

•   Thursday, May 19 at 6:40 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score,
•   Friday, May 20 at 1:20 CT on MARQ, MLBN, 670 The Score
•   Saturday, May 21 at 1:20 CT on MARQ, 670 The Score
•   Sunday, May 22 at 1:20 on MARQ, 670 The Score

Pitching Probables

Game 1: Zac Gallen (R) vs. Marcus Stroman (R)
Game 2: Humberto Castellanos (R) vs. Kyle Hendricks (R)
Game 3: Madison Bumgarner (L) vs. Justin Steele (L)
Game 4: Merrill Kelly (R) vs. Wade Miley (L)

Chicago Cubs

•   C – Willson Contreras
•   1B – Alfonso Rivas
•   2B – Jonathan Villar
•   3B – Patrick Wisdom
•   SS – Andrelton Simmons
•   LF – Ian Happ
•   CF – Rafael Ortega
•   RF – Seiya Suzuki
•   DH – Frank Schwindel

Unavailable: Jason Heyward, Alec Mills, Clint Frazier, Ethan Roberts, Michael Hermosillo, Nick Madrigal, Nico Hoerner, Sean Newcomb, David Bote, Adbert Alzolay, Brad Wieck, Codi Heuer

Arizona Diamondbacks

•   C – Daulton Varsho
•   1B – Christian Walker
•   2B – Ketel Marte* (Jake Hager)
•   3B – Josh Rojas
•   SS – Geraldo Perdomo
•   LF – David Peralta
•   CF – Alek Thomas
•   RF – Jordan Luplow
•   DH – Pavin Smith

*Day-to-Day

Unavailable: Nick Ahmed, Cooper Hummel, Kyle Nelson, Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Keynan Middleton, J.B. Bubauskas

By the Numbers:

Run Differential:
Cubs: +4
Diamondbacks: -28

Runs Scored Per Game:
Cubs: 4.11
Diamondbacks: 3.59

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Cubs: 4.00
Diamondbacks: 4.31

written by

Michael Cerami began covering the Chicago Cubs for Bleacher Nation as a part-time contributor in 2015. One year later, he joined Bleacher Nation full-time, covering the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. Today, Michael runs Bleacher Nation, contributing as a writer (Cubs, MLB) and an editor for all sections of the site, including the Chicago Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks, as well as MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL. In 2019, Michael was the co-host of NBC Sports Chicago's Cubs Post-Game Show Outside the Ivy. You can find him on Twitter/X @Michael_Cerami

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