This All-Star Break felt like it would never end. I am used to having only two days of no baseball in July. Three? That was a little too much. Hopefully, the Arizona Diamondbacks feel the same way. They resume play tonight by hosting a three game series against the Chicago Cubs. These tems split a four game series at Wrigley Field in April and much has changed for both of them since then. The Cubs traded their two best pitchers, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland A’s. Three of the D’back pitchers who started in that series, Mike Bolsinger, Bronson Arroyo and Brandon McCarthy, are not in Sedona Red right now. Both the D’backs and the Cubs sit in last place in their respective divisions, hoping for brighter days ahead.
Tonight will feature the return of Trevor Cahill as he takes goes up against Edwin Jackson. Both pitchers are notorious underachievers which of course means both of them will throw gems at Chase Field. Cahill’s only win of the season came on April 23rd at Wrigley as he pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the 7-5 Snakes’ victory. Saturday features a matchup of lefties as Wade Miley opposes Travis Wood. Miley has come on strong as of late putting up three consecutive sterling efforts, picking up two W’s. Wood was tremendous against the D’backs on April 21st, allowing only one run in seven innings as the Cubs prevailed, 5-1. Josh Collmenter goes for the D’backs in the finale against Jake Arrieta. Collmenter pitched superbly in his last outing, July 9th, limiting the Miami Marlins to one run over seven innings but getting a no-decision. Arrieta has been dominant in 13 starts going 5-1 with a 1.95 ERA. On June 30th, he held the Boston Red Sox hitless for 7 2/3 innings at Fenway Park.
Both clubs are double digits under .500 and you could expect trade winds to be swirling. With the Cubs having acquired prized shortstop Addison Russell from the A’s, Starlin Castro will be one of the more sought-after players over the next two weeks. On the D’backs’ side, perhaps no one is untouchable outside of Paul Goldschmidt. The two names you will hear the most are Martin Prado and Aaron Hill. Cody Ross could also be a guy on the move, particularly when A.J. Pollock comes back in mid-August from a broken hand. So while both teams don’t appear headed for the postseason, many of their fans are anxious to see how their young players fare at the Major League level.