The Cubs’ (76-64) second-half surge continued with a three-game sweep of the Giants at Wrigley Field. After a bit of an offensive slump, Chicago’s hitters have roared back to life with 39 runs during a four-game win streak. They are just 1.5 games behind the Brewers in the National League Central and have a 3.5-game cushion in the Wild Card race.
Now they welcome one of those squads on the outside looking in at a Wild Card spot, the Arizona Diamondbacks (71-68), for a four-game series starting Thursday. The D-Backs got off to a terrific start in 2023 and led the National League West for a big portion of the first half before the Dodgers blew past them.
Arizona has stabilized things a bit after a disastrous 3-17 stretch in late July and early August that saw them drop from 1.5 games back in the division to 12.5 behind. Their team OPS of .742 ranks 15th in MLB, but they make the most of it with 135 stolen bases (third in MLB).
The Diamondbacks’ best player is the dynamic rookie center fielder Corbin Carroll, who looks like a lock for the Rookie of the Year with 24 home runs, 41 steals, an .884 OPS, and elite outfield defense. Slugging first baseman Christian Walker is also having a great season with 30 dingers and an .872 OPS.
Arizona’s pitching has scuffled with a staff ERA of 4.69 that isn’t as nice as it sounds, ranking just 22nd in baseball. Things get dicey after the one-two punch of starters Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, both of whom will go in this series, though there’s a Cubs connection in young righty Ryne Nelson. The bullpen has been a revolving door and it appears like a committee approach is being employed when it comes to closing out games.
These two teams are about to get very familiar with each other as they will play seven times in the next 10 days. The Cubs should be able to score runs on the D-Backs and they’ll need to do exactly that because los Serpientes can explode on offense if they are locked in. This is another chance for the Cubs to bury an opponent in the same way they successfully did to San Francisco.
Every win is another step closer to locking down a playoff berth. The last few days have been very fun, let’s see if the party can keep going this weekend.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Thursday, September 7 at 6:40pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
- Friday, September 8 at 1:20pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
- Saturday, September 9 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.
- Sunday, September 10 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Seiya Suzuki had eight hits against the Giants, five of which were for extra bases, and he had nine RBI.
- Yan Gomes picked up five base hits in just two games played against San Francisco.
- The Diamondbacks are promoting 2021 first-round pick Jordan Lawlar to the majors after the infielder hit over .400 in his last 10 games at Triple-A.
- Steele pitched eight shutout innings on Monday as he continues his push for the Cy Young Award.