The Arizona Diamondbacks are in the Windy City to take on the Chicago Cubs for the first time since the 2016 Cubs broke the 108-year World Series curse.
In the first half, this matchup might not have been as important. However, post-MLB Trade Deadline, it couldn’t be more vital.
The Cubs were once trailing the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central standings. After the All-Star break, the Cubs have looked much more like their World Series-selves.
On the other hand, the Diamondbacks are barely holding on to a half-game lead over the Colorado Rockies for the top Wild Card spot.
At the break, the Cubs had the 28th lowest batting average in the league (.239), with only the San Diego Padres coming behind them in the National League. Heading into the series against the Diamondbacks, the Cubs have the tenth highest batting average in baseball (.272).
The Diamondbacks had the 12th going into the All-Star break, but have fallen eight spots to the 20th since then.
The Diamondbacks owned the second lowest ERA (3.43) heading into the break, coming behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers (3.15). At the same time, the Cubs owned an ERA above four. Since then, the Diamondbacks have fallen to ninth (3.53) and the Cubs have risen to second (2.98).
That was before the trade deadline, where the Cubs filled their three biggest needs. The reigning champs added lefty Jose Quintana, lefty reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila.
The Diamondbacks best move so far has been the addition of J.D. Martinez, whose seven hits in his new uniform have included five home runs.
But, the last weekend has been rough for the Diamondbacks as Robbie Ray was hit in the head by a line drive and is currently on concussion protocol, Chris Owings fractured a finger after being hit by a pitch and Ketel Marte had to return to the Dominican Republic following his mother’s death in a car accident.
Diamondbacks’ GM Mike Hazen had no choice but to pick up a middle infielder at the deadline, which came in the form of Oakland Athletics’ Adam Rosales as well as adding an arm to the bullpen in former Diamondback David Hernandez (LAA).
Aside from Martinez, the moves were minor, but necessary. They’ll be put to the test in Chicago.
Patrick Corbin (8-9) will take the mound against Chicago’s Jon Lester (8-6) in the first matchup. Zack Godley (4-4) will face Jake Arrieta (10-7) on Wednesday. Finally, Zack Greinke (13-4) will look to continue his dominance on Thursday against Jose Quintana (16-9).