Diamondbacks Welcome Cubs to Chase Field


May 18, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder David Peralta hits the game winning double in the thirteenth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. The Diamondbacks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks (19-21) return home to take on the Chicago Cubs (23-17) where Arizona looks to keep their momentum rolling after sweeping their four game series against the Marlins. The Cubs stride into Phoenix after taking two of three from the Padres.

Arizona will try to capture the success they had against Chicago last season when the D-Backs won five of the seven games against the North Siders.

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The biggest challenge for the D-Backs could be the fact that they have to face the top three of the Chicago rotation (Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Jason Hammel). Lester’s early struggles were well documented in the early stages of the season but he’s won his last 4 starts to bring his record to 4-2 and has lowered his ERA to 3.70.

The scheduled trio to take the mound in this series for Arizona is Collmenter, De La Rosa and Hellickson. De La Rosa currently holds the best record among the three also at 4-2 but none of the above have an ERA below 4.oo.

It’s going to be really interesting to watch how both pitching staffs attack the opposing lineup. Chicago leads the majors in most strikeouts (387) but they also have the third most walks (145). Meanwhile, Arizona doesn’t even rank in the top 15 in either of those categories.

Some of Chicago’s young players like Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler tend to get aggressive early in the count and they’ve paid dearly for that strategy in terms of strikeouts.

Despite Bryant’s torrid success in the past week, he still has 42 strikeouts to his name while Soler has been fanned 58 times. Interestingly enough, Bryant leads the Cubs in walks with 24 to go along with his 42 K’s.

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  • That’s part of the nature of having such a young team like the Cubs have. Their young inexperienced players get aggressive. They have been impressive overall but they are far from unstoppable. To counter some of the young aggressive hitters for Chicago, they have other players like Anthony Rizzo and former D-Back Miguel Montero who have shown more patience at the plate this season.

    On the other side, the Diamondbacks rank 5th in team batting average and 8th in runs scored (182) and rank 10th in on base percentage (OBP).

    If the Diamondbacks can force Chicago to go into their bullpen early in the game, that scenario should work in their favor. Some of the Cubs’ relievers have been really inconsistent as of late. A few of those pitchers include Brian Schlitter, Jason Motte and Phil Coke. All three of the aforementioned pitchers have an ERA of 5.17 or higher.

    This is a Diamondback lineup that may not be flashy but statistically speaking, they have been solid in terms of driving in runs. Their best bet to continue that success is against the Chicago bullpen.

    Both teams have been in plenty of tight ballgames as well. The D-Backs are 4-6 in one run games while the Cubs have posted an impressive 12-7 record in one run games.

    Bottom line for Arizona is to force Chicago into their bullpen as soon as possible.

    This series is going to be entertaining and competitive the whole way. Arizona has endured some struggles but they very well may have hit their stride at the right time with some tough series coming up including this one.

    First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. for the first of the three games while the following two will start at 7:10 p.m. and 1:10 p.m. respectively.

    Next: D-Backs Sweep Marlins