Thursday, July 18, 2024
World Elite Syndicate

MLB Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks (73-68) at Chicago Cubs (76-65)


THE WILD STRETCH: The D-backs are 9-7 in this 28-game span from Aug. 21-Sept. 20, which includes 21 games against playoff contenders in the Rangers (2-0), Reds (3-1), Dodgers (0-3), Orioles (1-2), Cubs (1-0 this series and 3 games Sept. 15-17) and Giants (2 games)…this stretch also includes series against the Rockies (2-1) and Mets (4 games).

LAWLAR COLLECTS NO. 1: Last night, Jordan Lawlar made his first Major League start and collected his first hit in the Majors (single in 4th inning off Javier Assad)…defensively, at shortstop, he had 1 putout and 5 assists. At 2 seasons and 141 games, Lawlar became the 16th fastest D-back draft pick to make it to the Majors [source: Elias Sports Bureau].

SNAKES 9TH DEBUT: Jordan Lawlar became the ninth D-back to debut in 2023: INF Jordan Lawlar, OF Dominic Canzone, RHP Slade Cecconi, OF Dominic Fletcher, RHP Bryce Jarvis, RHP Justin Martínez, RHP Brandon Pfaadt, LHP Andrew Saalfrank and RHP Carlos Vargas. in 2022, the D-backs featured 10 MLB debuts: Corbin Carroll, Stone Garrett, Tommy Henry, Jose Herrera, Tyler Holton, Cooper Hummel, Drey Jameson, Buddy Kennedy, Ryne Nelson, Alek Thomas.

NL CENTRAL OPPONENTS: The D-backs are 15-11 (.577) vs. NL Central opponents this season and 7-6 on the road (1-0 vs. Cubs, 3-4 vs. Reds, 3-3 vs. Brewers, 4-2 vs. Pirates and 3-3 vs. Cardinals).

PHAM BAM: Last night, Tommy Pham collected his 10th career multi-homer game and second this season (also: June 4 vs. Blue Jays with the Mets)…it is the first time he’s collected multiple 2+-homer games since 2017 (career-high 3 games with the Cardinals). Since joining the D-backs on Aug. 3, Pham has recorded 36 batted balls with an exit velocity of 100+ MPH, including 15 at 105+ MPH, the most on the team… Ketel Marte has recorded 25 at 100+ MPH, including 13 at 105+ MPH.

10 OR MORE & 5 OR FEWER: Last night, the D-backs recorded their ninth victory when recording 10+ hits and allowing 5 or fewer hits, the fifth most among NL teams, behind the Dodgers (14), Cubs (12), Phillies (10) and Padres (10).

SOME MORE 1 THRU 4: Since the start of September, D-backs’ 1-4 batters are hitting a combined .315 (34- for-108)/.994 OPS, which marks the third-highest OPS (behind Mets/1.091 and Yankees/.995) and fourth-best average in the Majors (behind Tigers/.350, Astros/.330 and Mets/.317).

BULLPEN BOAST: The D-backs bullpen, over the last 3 games, boasts a 0.61 ERA (1 ER in 14.2 IP) with only 4 hits allowed in 50 batters faced, 2 walks allowed and 12 strikeouts…since Aug. 30, D-backs’ relievers have combined for a 2.18 ERA, second best in the NL and fifth in the Majors, behind the Yankees (0.84), Pirates (1.06), Rays (1.91) and Astros (2.05), while their 20 hits allowed are tied for fi fth fewest (also: Rays).

VS CUBS: The D-backs have won 4 of their last 5 games @ Wrigley Field since 2022, outscoring the Cubs 30- 20… last year, the D-backs went 4-3 vs. Cubs (3-1 on the road and 1-2 at home). The D-backs face off vs. Cubs 6 more times in the next 10 days (3 @ Wrigley Field and 3 @ Chase Field).

ROOKIE EXTRAS: Corbin Carroll, who is at 59 extra-base hits this season, is 6 shy from surpassing Chris Young (64 – 2007) to set a new franchise high by a rookie in a season.

1 HOMER AWAY: Corbin Carroll (24 HR/42 SB) is 1 homer shy of becoming the fourth player ever to have 25+ home runs and 40+ stolen bases in a season in their age-22 season or younger…he would join Mike Trout (2012 – 30 HR/49 SB), Alex Rodríguez (1998 – 42 HR/46 SB) and César Cedeño (1973 – 25 HR/56 SB…J ulio Rodríguez/SEA (27 HR/36 SB) is also 4 stolen bases shy of meeting the feat (source: Sportradar).

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 2023 NL All-Star starting pitcher.

  • Is making his 30th start of the season, 1 shy of tying his 31 starts in 2022. In his last 2 starts against the Cubs, is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA, .108 opponent average, 0.73 WHIP and 13 strikeouts. With today’s start, his 104 games started as a D-back are 3 shy of tying Curt Schilling (107) and 5 shy of Miguel Batista (109).

NL RANKINGS: Ranks among qualifying NL leaders in games started (T-2nd, 29), wins (T-3rd, 14), innings pitched (4th, 178.2), win percentage (T-8th, .667) and Strikeouts (10th, 186).

LAST START: Took the loss on Sept. 3 vs. Orioles (5 ER in 5.1 IP).

VS. CUBS: Making his fifth career start against the Cubs and first in 2023. Won his last start on May 19, 2022 @ Wrigley Field when he tossed 3.0 scoreless
innings and allowed just 2 hits (1 ER in 5.0 IP).

VS. NL CENTRAL: Won his last road start against an NL Central opponent on June 21, 2023 @ Brewers (1 ER in 7.0 IP,). In his last 3 games vs. NL Central opponents, is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA (7 ER in 20.1 IP), .192 average, .224 on-base percentage, 0.84 WHIP and 17 strikeouts.

AHEAD IN THE COUNT: His .150 opponent average (37-for-246; 100 K) when ahead in the count is fourth among MLB starters (min. 20 GS), behind Blake Snell/SD (.105), Zack Wheeler/PHI (.144) and Yusei Kikuchi/TOR (.146).

INNING INFO: In his last 6 starts in innings 2-4, has held opponents to a .180 average (11- for-61)/.254 OBP/.213 SLG with no home runs and 15 strikeouts.

BATTER BREAKDOWN: In 29 starts, is limiting batters 4-6 to a .216 average (50-for-232)/.258 OBP/.379 SLG and 63 strikeouts.

LIMITING LEFTIES: In his last 3 road starts, is holding lefties to a .135 average (5-for37)/.179 OBP/.162 SLG, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts. From June 27-July 20, limited left-handed batters to a .160 average (8-for-50)/.208 OBP/.300 SLG, 3 walks and 19 strikeouts.

CURVE BREAKDOWN : In his last 6 starts, is limiting opponents to a .121 average (4-for-33) with 17 strikeouts on his curveball.

RISP-Y BUSINESS : In his last 5 starts, holding runners in scoring position to a .150 average (3-for-20) with 7 strikeouts.


Cubs vs. Diamondbacks
The Cubs and Diamondbacks play seven games spanning two series in an 11-day span … following this four-game set in Chicago the teams meet for three games at Chase Field, Sept. 15-17 … prior to going 3-4 against Arizona last season, the Cubs had won three-straight season series over the D’backs from 2018-19 and 2021.

FRIDAY AT THE FRIENDLY CONFINES: The Chicago Cubs today play the second of four games against the Arizona Diamondbacks after dropping last evening’s series opener, 6-2 … the setback snapped Chicago’s four-game winning streak … Chicago started this seven-game homestand with a three-game series sweep over the Giants. Following this series, the Cubs embark on a six-game seven-day sojourn through Colorado (3 games starting Monday) and Arizona (3 games beginning next Friday). Including the series victory against the Giants, Chicago is 12-1-2 in its last 15 series dating to July 17. Today marks the 12th of 14-straight games against teams either holding a division lead or sitting within a few games of an N.L. Wildcard spot … Chicago is 7-4 thus far. The Cubs are 20-11 in their last 31 games and 35-14 in their last 49 games since July 18 … following play on July 20, the Cubs sat 7.0-games out of a wildcard spot and 8.5-games back of the division lead … the club enters today in the second wild card spot (2.0 games behind Philadelphia for the top WC spot and 3.0 games ahead of Arizona in the third WC spot) … Chicago is 2.0-games back of division-leading Milwaukee.

ABOUT THE RECORD: The Cubs sit 11-games over .500 at 76-65 … Chicago was 26-36 following play on June 8 and this marks the first time in franchise history that the club reached 10 games over .500 in a season in which it sat at least 10 games under .500. Chicago sat 12-games over .500 (at 76-64) for the first time since sitting 82-70 following play on Sept. 18, 2019. Since waking up June 9 sitting at 26-36, the Cubs are 21-games over .500 at 50-29 (.633), the third-best mark in the N.L. and fourth in the majors behind Atlanta (53-24/.688), Baltimore (50-27/.649) and the Dodgers (49-27/.645). The team’s 76 victories this season already surpasses its output from all of last year in which the club finished 74-88.

SIGHTS SET ON 20-20: Cody Bellinger enters today with 24 homers and 19 stolen bases … he’s one stolen base away from his first career 20-homer, 20-stolen base campaign … the last Cub to turn that trick was Javier Báez in 2018 (34 HR, 21 SB). Just six Cubs have recorded 20-20 campaigns: Frank Schulte in 1911, Leon Durham in 1982, Ryan Sanderg did so in 1985, 1990 and 1991, Sammy Sosa did it in 1993-95 and 1997, Corey Patterson in 2004 and Báez in 2018.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Wednesday’s win saw Jordan Wicks (2 ER/6.2 IP), Daniel Palencia (0 ER/1.1 IP) and Luke Little (0 ER/1.0 IP) on the bump for Chicago – it marked just the third time since the 1893 season – when the mound moved to its current 60’6″ distance from home plate – in which the team won a game and used three or more pitchers with all of them making their MLB debuts that season … thanks to Ed Hartig. Prior to Wednesday it happened in Aug. 23, 2010 against the Nationals (Casey Coleman, Andrew Cashner and Thomas Diamond) … prior to that, it happened Sept. 26, 1967 vs Cardinals (Joe Niekro, Rick James and Bill Stoneman).

ROSTER RUMINATIONS: Including Alexander Canario and Luke Little on Wednesday, the Cubs have had six players make major league debuts this season (also Miguel Amaya, Matt Mervis, Daniel Palencia and Jordan Wicks) … Chicago has utilized 46 players this season after using 69 in 2021 and 64 in 2022.

A RESURGENT SEIYA: Seiya Suzuki in his last 21 games since Aug. 18 is hitting .375 (30-for-80) with a .420 on-base percentage and a .738 slugging mark … in that span, his 10 doubles and 17 extra-base hits lead the majors while his 59 total bases are third … his .375 average in this stretch is seventh in baseball.

BRING THEM AROUND, BELLI: Cody Bellinger has driven in 27 runs in his last 20 games dating to August 19, with 40 RBI since August 1 (35 games) and 64 RBI since July 1 (61 games) … he tallied 59 RBI in a 55-game span from July 1-September 12 for the first time in his career … he is the first Cub to acheive the feat since Sammy Sosa did so August 3-October 7, 2001 (61 RBI in 55 games) and just the second player in the majors this season to do so (also Matt Olson). His 64 RBI since July 1 lead the majors (Julio Rodriguez is second with 51). This season, Bellinger’s .320 average is fifth in the majors, his .916 OPS ranks seventh and his .552 slugging percentage ranks eighth.

COMFORTS OF HOME: Chicago has won 10 of its last 14 home games since Aug. 5 and in its last 25 home contests dating to July 18 has posted an 18-7 record … Cubs pitching has posted a 3.80 ERA (95 ER/225.0 IP) in its last 25 home games while the offense has posted a .277/.346/.490 slash line in that span.

GOMES AT THE DISH: Yan Gomes in his last three games has five hits, including two doubles, and three RBI … his 13 doubles since July 23 are tied for fifth-most in the majors in that span … he is batting .289 (33-for-114) with the 13 doubles, one homer and 16 RBI during the run. Gomes’ .272 season average is fifth among major league catchers with at least 300 plate appearances.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST: Monday’s shutout of the Giants was Chicago’s 12th of the season, tied for fourth-most in the N.L. … last season, the Cubs recorded 11 shutouts. © On the other end of the spectrum, Cubs batters have logged 22 games with at least 10 runs scored, tops in the N.L. and second in the majors behind the
Rangers (23).

Starting Pitcher – #50 RHP Jameson Taillon (7-9, 5.51)
Last Time Out
Jameson received a no-decision Sept. 3 in Cincinnati … has not won a decision in five starts since Aug. 13 … has allowed at least four runs in five-straight starts … has struck out 22 batters, compared to one walk in his last four starts.

Date Opp. Result IP H R ER BB SO PC-S Left
9/3 @CIN ND, 15-7 5.2 7 5 5 0 7 91-65 4-4, 1 on

2023 Splits and Season Notes
Home 3-6 5.45 13 13 66.0 87 49 40 14 62
Road 4-3 5.58 12 12 61.1 51 40 38 19 51
AVG vs. LHB: .276 (70-for-254) / AVG vs. RHB: .272 (68-for-250)

Jameson makes his 26th start of the season and his 14th at Wrigley Field … looking to snap a five-start winless skid after winning four-straight outings from July 23- Aug. 8 … has posted a 6.84 ERA (20 ER/26.1 IP) during his last five starts … has walked two or fewer in 22 of his 25 outings this season … his 33 walks are tied for the fourth-fewest in the N.L. among pitchers with at least 25 starts. Posted a 5.23 ERA (19 ER/32.2 IP) in six August starts after producing a 2.67 ERA (9 ER/30.1 IP) in five July starts. Aug. 23 in Detroit, took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, the third time in his career in which he has tossed at least 5.0-hitless innings to begin a game. From July 7-Aug. 8, went 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA (9 ER/37.1 IP) in six starts, tied for the fifth-lowest ERA in the majors during the run … allowed three or fewer runs in all six starts. Threw a season-high 109 pitches July 23 vs. the Cardinals … were his most since throwing 110 April 8, 2018, vs. the Reds while with the Pirates. Tossed 8.0, one-hit, scoreless innings in a 3-0 win July 7 at Yankee Stadium … was the first pitcher with at least 8.0 innings and one or fewer hits allowed on the road at Yankee Stadium since Baltimore’s Daniel Cabrera did so in 2006 …was also the first former Yankee to go a least 8.0 frames and allow no more than one hit in a game at Yankee Stadium (old or new). Made his first quality start as a Cub June 13 vs. Pittsburgh (3 ER/6.0 IP). Earned his first win as a Cub June 2 in San Diego (1 ER/5.2 IP) … had previously gone eight-straight starts without a win, the third time in his career that he had failed to win in at least eight-straight starts in the same season (last 9 G, April 14-May 27, 2018). Walked two or fewer batters in 16-straight starts from Aug. 14, 2022-May 9, 2023 … at the time, marked the fifth-longest active streak among major league starting pitchers. Began his stint on the 15-day injured list April 20 (retroactive to April 17) with a left groin strain … was activated on May 4. Went 2-0 with a 3.93 ERA (8 ER/18.1 IP) with 23 strikeouts, compared to no
walks, during Spring Training … was the only pitcher in the Cactus League with at least 10.0 IP to not walk a batter.

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