Diamondbacks series preview: Tough series coming
Thursday: Rubby De la Rosa (14-9, 4.67 ERA) vs. John Lackey (13-10, 2.77 ERA): 6:40pm
Friday: Robbie Ray (5-12, 3.52 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (10-7, 3.74 ERA): 6:40pm
Saturday: Zach Greinke (0-1, 15.75 ERA) vs. Kyle Hendricks (8-7, 3.95 ERA): 5:10pm
Sunday: Shelby Miller (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (1-0, 0.00 ERA): 1:10pm
The big question for the rotation right now is who is going to turn in the first outing without allowing a home run. Patrick Corbin actually pitched really well on Wednesday afternoon, enough to go seven innings, but all of his mistakes were hit over the wall.
De la Rosa will make his 2016 debut tonight in the series opener, but his biggest problem in 2015 was the long ball. He allowed 32 home runs in 188.2 innings, the third-most in the majors. He had an inconsistent this spring, recording a 9.03 ERA. This makes the Cubs, who had the fifth-most home runs in the NL last season, a tough matchup. Lackey will make his Cubs debut tonight after spending last season with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Game two will feature a match up of left-handers that pitched well in 2015. Hammel increased his slider usage, and it is his most effective pitch. For the D-backs, Ray is going to have to pound the strike zone and avoid full counts, because he was one of the best rookie starters in the NL last year.
Greinke will look to bounce back after his Opening Day debacle. He will have to keep the ball down and fix his release point. On the Cubs side, Hendricks had a solid season at the back-end of the rotation, striking out 167 in 180.0 innings pitched.
The finale of the series will feature two pitchers that have different goals heading into their second starts. Miller was able to go six innings, but he gave up three home runs and was tagged for six earned runs. Arrieta, the National League CY Young Award winner in 2015, pitched seven innings of shutout baseball in the Cubs 9-0 win over the Angels on Opening Night.