Series Preview: Cubs @ Diamonbacks - 8/11-8/13

The Cubs looked unstoppable to begin the second-half of the season. Now, the Northsiders have lost three series in a row and find themselves clinging to a one-game lead over the surging St. Louis Cardinals. Adding injury to insult, the teams hottest hitter Willson Contreras is out at least three weeks with a hamstring strain. For the second time in two weeks, they begin a series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The D-Backs won two of three games at Wrigley at the start of August, despite the Cubs scoring 24 runs in the series. Arizona still has the second best team ERA in baseball at 3.55, despite the damage done by Chicago hitters. The desert dwellers have struggled a bit recently, going 4-6 their last ten, same as their opponents this weekend.

On offense Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb continued their domination of Cubs pitching earlier this month. Goldie in particular decimates the boys from the Windy City. He single-handedly sent them down to defeat with three homers on August 3rd. It would be wise for Joe Maddon and his team to let someone else beat them this weekend.


Friday: 8:40 pm CT CSN-C/670 AM

Saturday: 7:10 pm CT MLB-N/WGN/670 AM

Sunday: 3:10 pm CT ABC-7/670 AM



1. Jon Jay (CF)

2. Kris Bryant (3B)

3. Anthony Rizzo (1B)

4. Ben Zobrist (2B)

5. Kyle Schwarber (LF)

6. Alex Avila (C)

7. Jason Heyward (RF)

8. Javier Baez (SS)

9. John Lackey (P)

1. David Peralta (LF)

2. A.J. Pollock (CF)

3. Jake Lamb (3B)

4. Paul "For the Love of God Don't Pitch to Him" Goldschmidt (1B)

5. J.D. Martinez (RF)

6. Daniel Descalso (2B)

7. Ketel Marte (SS)

8. Chris Herrmann (C)

9. Taijuan Walker (P)


Bullpen Usage:



via Baseball Press.

Opposing pitchers:

Scouting Reports from Books Baseball.

Taijuan Walker: His fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has essentially average velo and has some added backspin. His slider is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sliders, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' sliders, is much harder than usual and has less than expected depth. His splitter is thrown extremely hard, is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' splitters, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' splitters and has movement that suggests a lot of backspin. His curve results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' curves and has slightly below average velo. His sinker generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has less armside run than typical, has little sinking action compared to a true sinker, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slightly above average velo.

Sean's note: Walker has been very good this season after coming over from Seattle in Jean Segura deal. He is finally staying healthy and reaching the potential he has always had.

Patrick Corbin: His slider generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' sliders and has some two-plane movement. His fourseam fastball results in somewhat more groundballs compared to other pitchers' fourseamers and has slightly above average velo. His sinker is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' sinkers and has slightly above average velo. His change generates fewer whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' changeups, results in many more groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups and is slightly firmer than usual. His cutter (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 2 of them in 2017) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers' cutters, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' cutters and has slightly above average velo.

Sean's note: The Cubs pounded Corbin at Wrigley for eight runs over three innings, including Jon Lester's first career home run. So they clearly see him well from the plate.

Zack Godley: His sinker generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers' sinkers, has less armside run than typical and has some natural sinking action. His curve is thrown extremely hard, generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' curves and has primarily 12-6 movement. His cutter generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers' cutters, results in somewhat more flyballs compared to other pitchers' cutters and has slightly above average velo. His change is a real worm killer that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers' changeups, has surprising cut action, generates a high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' changeups and has some natural sink to it. His fourseam fastball (take this with a grain of salt because he's only thrown 11 of them in 2017) generates an extremely high number of swings & misses compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers' fourseamers, has some natural sinking action, has slight armside run and has slightly above average velo.

Sean's note: Godley dominated his former organization the first time he faced them, going six shutout innings in a 3-0 Arizona win August 2nd.

Final Thoughts:

With the absence of Willson Contreras other players in the Cubs lineup will have to step up. Mainly Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, who have struggled recently need to get going. The NL Central is very much up for grabs at the moment, here's hoping the Cubs can rise to the occasion.  It won't be easy in the snake pit, but they have the ability to do it.

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  • fb_avatar

    Great write up Sean. You are correct about bryzzo stepping up. I think Avila will have a good series against AZ. Plus the whole team needs to step up on D. They've been sloppy the past week.

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    I know Joe is always looking for new ways to put his stamp on the game, but he needs to go back to the old school way of thinking. "Make someone else beat you. "

    If he wants to feel like he's smart and original, tell the media that he was the one who broke Bryce Harper last year by walking him so many times. Now he's going to do the same thing to Goldy.

    It's obvious we need to pitch around Goldy, but the key thing will be to get the guys out in front of him so he comes up to the plate w the bases empty. We don't want to keep facing JD Martinez ( why didn't we add him for pennies on the dollar?) w 2 or 3 men on every time. That's what it will be like if the table setter ahead of Goldy are getting on.

    For the love of god, OFFENSE, please wake up. We are going to need to average at least 5 runs a game to have a chance in winning this series.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Cards are winning. Brewers are getting blown out by the Reds

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    The Cubs have to step up defensively and offensively and also with smart base running. They can do this, and I think that if one starts to do it then the others will too.
    Right now the Cards are winning and Milw is losing. Maybe they don't scoreboard watch but we do and I don't like how StL is coming on. If we play to our abilities we can win this.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    We don't need to watch the scoreboard. This team is good enough, and we control our own destiny. We need to play the type of baseball we are capable of playing and we will be fine. Anytime a valuable teammate goes down, everyone needs to step up. What separates the good teams from the great teams is the next man up.

    Now that I've gotten all the cliches out of the way, I feel good. We're fine. The only Championship any of us have ever known was a magical, dominating performance. This one, with all the struggles involved, may be even sweeter.

    We lost Willson for a while. Many have called this the end of our season. I disagree. There is too much talent on this team to give up. They never give up, we shouldn't give up, "We Never Quit".

    A couple words of wisdom from Bobby McFerrin, to those on a ledge over Willson's hammy:

    "In every life we have some trouble.
    When you worry you make it double.
    Don't worry, be Happy".

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    I like your attitude, Barley. We are in a bona fide pennant race. Some look at the standings and see un-met expectations. I see August 11 and the Chicago Cubs are in first place. Last year the division was over by the all-star break. It's never supposed to be that easy. For five years during the rebuild we dreamed of battling St. Louis for the division title. Well here it is. Are the Cards or Brewers good enough to win it? Maybe, but I'm going to enjoy the stretch run. And after what the Cubs did in the playoffs last year, coming back against SF in the 9th, down in the series to the Dodgers and the Indians, I will never, EVER, count this team out until they are eliminated.

    And for those who say even if we make it to the postseason, the Nats and Dodgers are better teams, just ask Blackhawk fans how far that awesome regular season will get you in the playoffs.

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    Tonight's going on be all offense. Jut walk Goldie

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    I also believe after the dbacks series, all the Cubs games are against NLC & NLE teams. If I'm right, they need to take control of the Central and win series. Just have to quit the sloppy D & the offense needs to step 6

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    In reply to Wrigley0923:

    step up

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    Underwood is pitching a great game tonight and Fernando Kelli got caught stealing. What a day so far!

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    Great eye by the Schwarbenator

    Bases loaded early for Alex Avila

    Show us why we brought you from Mo Town !!

    Need to start this series off right@

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    1-0 after the bases loaded walk

    We will take it, but we need that crooked number

    Come on J-Hey......earn that money 1 time......

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    Heyward w his not even warning track power is out.

    Lucky for the catcher n pitcher cross up got us another run.

    2-0 Cubs.

    Seems like this year Either Heyward is starting a rally or he's ending one.

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    Lets go Lackey. How about a shutdown inning.

    NO walks

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    Here we go........walk 2 guys in front of Goldy

    Now you have to face him Lackey.

    Cowboy up. Lets see what you have

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    He cowboy'd up

    He induced a DP after falling behind 3-0

    Why the runners were not moving on a 3-2 count is beyond me, but hey we will take it !

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    That first inning was so 2015 Cub. Taking a lot of pitches and not being anxious. I was worried about Lackey but that DP was crisp. Now let's make this pitcher pay and get him out by the 4th.

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    Throw strikes! You've got 7 players behind you and they can catch.

  • Inefficient starting pitchers are killing us. That's the best way to expose a mediocre pen.

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    Pirates win, Cardinals prob about to win and Brewers about to lose.

    How tight has this NL Central got in the past week.

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    Nothing worse then walking everyone and then have a chance to leadoff the 3rd w the pitcher and you allow a .156 hitter get a knock.

    Going to need a lot of outs from each bullpen tonight

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    Lackey may not be able to find the strike zone but you should see whats happening in the bronx.

    Redsox pen blew a 3-0 lead and gave up a 5 spot in the bottom of the 8th.

    Now Chapman has walked the bases loaded w NO OUTS in the 9th

  • Reds trying to blow it

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    Leadoff walk. Good eye, Avila.

    Lets get some more runs.

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    This is what I like. Goldy coming up w the bases empty

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    68 pitches thru 4 for the big Texan.

    Maybe we can get 2 more innings out of him

    Lets get him some more runs.

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    Taijuan Walker is a big boy. He would look real nice in a Cub Uniform. He seems like he's so close to putting it all together and being a TOR arm.

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    JD called it

    Peralta w a 2 out 2 run bomb

    Game on

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    Damn! We hit warning track fly balls and they hit them out. Now just put it behind you and score more.

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    Time to go get more runs offense.

    Time for the Schwarbenator

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    That's why I wanted Alex Avila so badly.

    He wants that contract

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    Should have PH for Walker Lovello !

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    Maybe I should write that every time.
    I really like what I've seen of Avila. Not just the HR, but the patience at the plate too. He throws out 33% of runners too so a very good pick up by Theo.

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    If Heyward doesn't start heating up, his OPS is going to dip under .700. That would be ugly.

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    See you Lackey.

    He just seems to have no margin for error.

    CJ time. Here he comes w no runners on. Lets throw some strikes

  • What?!?!?! CJ walks the first guy he faced?!

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    He has ZERO clue where the ball is going. Can we please. Stop. Using. Him.

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    Bitch and Complain and good things will happen !

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    I've never pitched. Is CJ having trouble with his release point? Why is he walking so many? Maybe if he threw more to the plate he could still get misses or weak contact because of his stuff. Now it seems he is aiming at the outside part of the plate and is missing that. Trust your stuff and throw strikes!!

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    B%itch and complain and good things will happen!!

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    Here we go Justin Wilson

    How about you show us why we traded for you......

  • In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    Cue lead off walk.

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    Personally I would have gone w Rondon and the Strop for the 8th, but what do I know about baseball.

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    Thankfully they took Hermann out. Other then Peralta and Goldy, he was having a good game.

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    Didn't we talk about last series not to use Wilson unless it was a blow out 1 way or the other?

    Let me show he can get people out before throwing him into games when his confidence is prob at its lowest after pressing so much after the trade and everything went wrong for him.....

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    Wow, we really need 3 pitchers to get 3 outs in the 7th?

    Thank you Joe and Justin Wilson

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    Does Wilson will get a "Hold" for his performance tonight?

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    That a boy Almora ! Leadoff knock. Lets get some more runs

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    Javy just scored from first on a hit n run single ! to love that guy

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    Javy just scored on a single. Yes, he was running on the play, but that was incredible.

    He is the magician !

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    This is how you bust the game open.

    2 out single them to death

  • Save some runs this time

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    IMO, this would have been a nice low leverage spot for Justin Wilson to gain some confidence in Cubbie Blue.

    Hope we don't need Monty for anything more then an inning tomorrow.

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    In reply to Jim Odirakallumkal:

    My bad, I thought they PH for Strop, but I guess they did the double switch.

  • I can't remember the last time the Cubs had an offensive inning like this:
    Bunt (moves runner to second)
    Ground Out (moves runner to third)
    RBI single
    RBI single (w/error and Javy doing Javy things)
    RBI single

    I had had the thought the other day that, with Contreras out and not all that much power otherwise during these recent doldrums, why not try go for 'smallball' in opportune situations vs. depending on
    the HR ball/extra base hits..of course, this is too small of a sample size to tell if this is an intentional strategy shift, but early results are promising.

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