Diamondbacks Series Preview vs Cubs
By Jake Oliver
The Arizona Diamondbacks are rolling of late, despite dropping the series finale on Wednesday to the Miami Marlins in what proved to be an awful bullpen showing in the 9th inning. The Diamondbacks are still 7-3 in their last 10 games, while in 4th place in the division at 17-15. For what it's worth, the Diamondbacks are only .5 games back of a Wild Card berth. The team very quietly has the 12th best record in the MLB. Now, the Diamondbacks are set to take on the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field this weekend.
The Cubs have star Japanese rookie outfielder Seiya Suzuki who will definitely pose the biggest threat to the Diamondbacks this weekend. Aside from him and Wilson Contreras, the Cubs have struggled offensively. The team is also only 11-19 despite playing in the lackluster NL Central. They are 3-7 over their last 10 but did just win 2 of 3 against the Padres. Their pitching is hit or miss but is without highly paid ace Marcus Stroman.
This series will be focusing on the Dbacks bullpen and hitting since the starters have proven trustworthy so far. The Shark, Mark Melancon must figure out how to start closing out games as he has struggled mightily in the 9th inning since coming back from the Covid IL. Varsho will continue to catch most games until Carson Kelly comes back while rookie Alek Thomas continues to try to prove himself in the MLB. It's working so far as Thomas hit his first MLB HR on Wednesday and is now 6-for-13. Luplow will continue to try to smash against left-handed pitching too.
The Uni-Watch for this weekend's series, my three favorites, and the best one, the Serpientes. The Serpientes will be worn on every Friday home game guaranteed this year.
Apple TV+ MLB for the Dbacks?
There's a kink for Friday's game as the game will be aired on Apple TV +. That means it won't be shown on Bally Sports Arizona at all. The Apple TV+ game is free to watch so long as you have an Apple ID. Apple TV+ has gotten off to a rough start with its mediocre announcers and weird conversations, however, the viewing of the game is good. If you want more information on how to sign into Apple or watch the game, please click here for more in-depth details.
Friday, 5/13/2022, Cubs @Dbacks 6:40 PM AZ Time, AppleTV+ Game
Drew Smyly vs Zach Davies
Drew Smyly is on the mound for the Cubs on Friday night. He's been impressive so far this season despite his record of 1-3. Over his 5 starts and 23.2 innings, he has 17 Ks to 5 walks and has allowed 24 hits. His ERA is a sharp 3.04. He has given up at least 2 ERs over each of his last three starts never pitching past the 5th inning in any of them. The Dbacks have some experience against Smyly. Ketel is 3 for 7 while Peralta has an HR and 2 RBI in 3 at-bats. Josh Rojas and Daulton Varsho are each 1 for 2 and Pavin Smith has an HR, 2 RBI, and 2 hits in 4 at-bats.
Davies has been quite impressive lately. Three starts ago, his ERA was in the high 5s. Now it sits at 3.34 with a 1-1 record over his 6 games started. He has thrown 29.2 innings with 22 Ks, 23 hits, and 13 walks. He has pitched 11.1 scoreless innings over his last two starts. This will also be Davies' first start against his former team, the Cubs, with whom he struggled last year. Wilson Contreras has 34 at-bats against Zach and has hit .265 with 2 HRs and 5 RBI while Jason Heyward has vastly struggled over his 35 at-bats with a .143 BA and only 1 HR and 3 RBI. Ian Happ is 1 for 9. The rest of the Cubs lineup doesn't have any significant experience against Davies. This should be a good game.
Saturday, 5/14/2022, Cubs @Dbacks 5:10 PM AZ Time, Bally Sports AZ
TBD vs Zac "the Milkman" Gallen
The Cubs don't have a starter listed yet. The Dbacks do and it's Ace Zac Gallen. Dominant is an understatement when it comes to describing how well Zac has done this year. Gallen is the MLB leader in ERA and other categories as he has an 0.95 ERA over his 5 starts and 28.1 innings with 26 Ks, a 0.71 WHIP, 3 ER allowed, 16 hits, 4 walks, and a 2-0 record. Over his last 3 starts and 19.1 innings, he has given up 2 runs. He's pitched at least 6 innings and had at least 5 Ks in every start over that frame. The Cubs lineup has struggled in their short experience against him too. Wilson Contreras is 2-for-2 while the rest of the team has 3 hits in their combined 18 at-bats. I'm really looking forward to watching Gallen pitch again, I can't get enough of it.
Sunday, 5/15/2022, Cubs @Dbacks 1:10 PM AZ Time, Bally Sports AZ
TBD vs Humberto Castellanos
Once again, the Cubs haven't decided who will start for them a mere 2 days in advance. The Diamondbacks have decided that Humberto Castellanos will start Sunday on their homestand finale before they go back out on the road. Humberto has been a mixed bag this year. He has pitched great in some starts and worrisome in others. Over his 7 games, 5 starts, he has 25 innings with only 16 Ks, a 4.32 ERA, 2-1 record, and walked 7 while giving up 23 hits. In his last start, Humberto pitched a decent game going 5.1 innings allowing 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, and striking out 4 while keeping the game close for the Dbacks to come back and win. His prior start was dominant as he went 5.2 innings allowing only 4 hits and striking out 4. His start prior to that was disastrous as he only went 2 innings, allowing 5+ runs and walking 1. As I said, it's been a mixed bag. Regardless, this should be a get-right matchup for Humberto.
The Diamondbacks have won 4 series in a row, and have won 11 of their past 15 games. Let's hope for another series win this weekend against those Cubs! Ketel Marte and the offense needs to continue stringing together hits and improving their offense as they each slowly get hot.
Although Ketel Marte is fresh off an impressive 9-game hitting streak. Time to start another hitting streak Ketel!