Monday, September 25, 2023
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MLB Preview: Chicago Cubs (78-69) at Arizona Diamondbacks (76-72)


Cubs vs. Diamondbacks
The Cubs and Diamondbacks play seven games spanning two series in an 11-day span … Chicago dropped three of four to Arizona at Wrigley Field Sept. 7-10 … 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.

MAN OF STEELE: Including one run in 7.0 innings on Saturday, Justin Steele is second in the majors with a 2.49 ERA and 16 victories (one behind Atlanta’s Spencer Strider) … Steele’s 20 quality starts are second in the N.L. and third in the majors behind the Yankees Gerrit Cole (22) and the Giants Logan Webb (21). The previous Cubs southpaw with at least 20 quality starts in a season was Jon Lester, who spun 26 in 2016. Since June 29, 2022, Steele leads the majors with a 2.24 ERA (53 ER/213.1 IP) … min. 30 GS … the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw is second with a 2.31 ERA followed by San Diego’s Blake Snell (2.46).

WHAT LIES AHEAD: Chicago, currently in the second Wild Card spot (1.5 games behind Philadelphia for the top WC spot and 2.5 games ahead of Arizona, Cincinnati and San Francisco, all tied for the third WC Spot) and 4.5 games behind Milwaukee in the N.L. Central race, has just 15 regular season games remaining, including six at home and nine on the road … nine of those 15 games are against clubs with winning records (3 games against Arizona, 3 against Atlanta and 3 against Milwaukee).

ABOUT THE RECORD: The Cubs sit nine games over .500 at 78-69 after reaching a season-high 12-games over .500 at 76-64 … 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. Since waking up June 9 sitting at 26-36, the Cubs are 19-games over .500 at 52-33 (.612), the third-best mark in the N.L. and fourth in the majors behind Atlanta (58-26/.690), the Dodgers (52-30/.634) and Baltimore (53-31/.631). The team’s 78 victories this season already surpasses its output from all of last year in which the club finished 74-88. Chicago is 29-34 (.460) in games decided by two or fewer runs and 49-35 (.583) in games decided by three or more runs.

RUNNING MEN: The Cubs have swiped 127 bases this season, third-most in the N.L. and the most for Chicago in a single season since stealing 151 bases in 1990 … Nico Hoerner (40 steals) and Cody Bellinger (20) are the first Cubs duo to record at least 20 steals in a season since Tony Campana (30) and Starlin Castro (25) did so in 2012. With 40 stolen bases and 62 RBI, Hoerner is just the fifth Cub since 1901 to amass at least 40 steals and 62 RBI in a season and the first since Ryne
Sandberg did so in 1985 (54 SB, 83 RBI).

DANDY ARMS IN THE LAST 21: In their 21 games since Aug. 24, the Cubs have the second-lowest ERA in baseball at 3.03 (63 ER/187.1 IP) while their 1.17 WHIP is fourth-lowest behind Milwaukee (0.95), Tampa Bay (0.99) and Minnesota (1.17). The Cubs starting rotation has posted a 2.49 ERA (33 ER/119.1 IP) in the last 21
games since Aug. 24, the top mark in the majors ahead of the Mets (2.64) and Brewers (2.74) … Cubs starters in this span have pitched to a 1.11 WHIP with 24 walks compared to 112 strikeouts. Chicago’s relievers have produced a 3.97 ERA (30 ER/68.0 IP) in the club’s last 21 games since Aug. 24, eighth in the N.L. and 13th in the majors.

A RESURGENT SEIYA: Seiya Suzuki in his last 26 games since Aug. 18 is hitting .366 (37-for-101) with a .411 on-base percentage and a .693 slugging mark … in that pan, his 11 doubles and 19 extra-base hits are tied for the major league lead while his 37 hits are tied for second and his .366 average is fourth. Suzuki’s 50 extra-base hits this season are the most by a Japanese-born Cub since Kosuke Fukudome had 54 in 2009.

DANSBY’S BEEN DIVINE: According to Fangraphs, Dansby Swanson leads major league shortstops with 16 defensive runs saved this season … at the dish, he is hitting .372 (16-for-43) with four doubles, a homer, eight RBI and nine runs scored in his last 11 games since Sept. 3.

BELLI REACHING NEW HEIGHTS: Cody Bellinger reached 20 stolen bases on Saturday and on Sunday reached 25 home runs with a solo shot against Arizona … he’s just the fourth Cub ever to reach 25 homers and 20 steals in a season, joining Ryne Sandberg (done in 1985, 1990 and 1991), Sammy Sosa (done in 1991, 1993-95 and 1997) and Javier Báez (done in 2018).

Starting Pitcher – #35 LHP Justin Steele (16-3, 2.49)
Last Time Out
Justin received a no-decision Sept. 9 vs. Arizona, making his third start this season of at least 7.0 IP, while allowing one earned run or fewer … had his 21.0 IP scoreless streak snapped in the fifth inning … has allowed one run or fewer in three-straight starts since Aug. 29 (0.43 ERA) … owns a 2.18 ERA (24 ER/99.0 IP) in 17 home starts this season … has not suffered in a loss in 10-straight starts since July 16.

Date Opp. Result IP H R ER BB SO PC-S Left
9/9 ARI ND, 2-3 7.0 6 1 1 0 6 95-70 1-1
2023 Splits and Season Notes
Home 12-2 2.18 17 17 99.0 92 33 24 21 99
Road 4-1 3.00 10 10 60.0 54 23 20 12 60
AVG vs. LHB: .248 (29-for-117) / AVG vs. RHB: .240 (117-for-487)

Justin is scheduled to make his 28th start of the 2023 season today, his 11th on the road and second vs. Arizona … since June 29, 2022, Steele leads the majors with a 2.24 ERA (53 ER/213.1 IP) … min. 30 GS … has not suffered a loss in 10-straight starts dating to July 16 … his 17 starts of 6.0-plus IP while allowing two or fewer earned runs are tied for the most in the N.L. … his 16 wins and 2.49 ERA both rank second in the majors … his 12 wins and 2.18 ERA at home this season both lead the majors. Had a 21.0 IP scoreless streak from Aug. 24-Sept. 4, tied for the longest streak in the majors during the run. Sept. 4 vs. San Francisco tossed a career-high 8.0 scoreless innings, becoming the Cubs first left-handed starting pitcher since 1901 to pitch at least 8.0 scoreless innings, allowing two hits or fewer and striking out at least 12 in a game … was the Cubs first starter since Yu Darvish (Sept. 22, 2019 vs. St. Louis) and first lefty since Jose Quintana (Aug. 13, 2019 at Philadelphia) to strike out at least 12 batters in a game. Aug. 29 vs. Milwaukee, earned his 15th win of the season in his 25th start, the first Cub to accomplish the feat since Jake Arrieta did so in 2016. July 21 vs. St. Louis, recorded his 10th win of the season, the first time in his career that he has reached double-digit wins. Earned his first career All-Star nod and pitched a scoreless fifth inning, allowing one hit with one strikeout in the N.L.’s 3-2 victory. Started the Cubs’ first game in London, June 24 vs. St. Louis, earning the win (1 ER/6.0 IP). Posted a 53.0-inning stretch without allowing a home run from April 14-June 17, which was the longest active streak in the majors. Left his start May 31 vs. Tampa Bay after 3.0 perfect innings with left forearm
tightness … was placed on the injured list June 3 (retroactive to June 1) and was activated June 17. Had a 17-start streak of allowing three earned runs or fewer at Wrigley Field from April 24, 2022-May 10, 2023 … pitched to a 2.20 ERA (23 ER/94.0 IP) during the run … his 2.20 home ERA during the stretch was the third-lowest in the N.L. Went eight starts before suffering his first loss of the season May 16 in Houston … allowed five runs in the outing … at the time of his first loss, was the only pitcher in the N.L. with at least six wins and zero losses. Allowed two or fewer earned runs in 14-straight starts from July 22, 2022-May
5, 2023, tied for the second-longest stretch in Cubs franchise history (since 1901), behind Jack Taylor’s streak of 15 games June 13-Aug. 14, 1902 (tied with
Jake Arrieta, 14 G, 7/30/15-4/4/16). Went 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA (4 ER/13.2 IP) with 13 strikeouts in four Cactus League starts in 2023 … started and tossed the first 2.0 innings of the Cubs combined no-hitter, March 3 at San Diego.


No team release available.

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