Fourth-place teams will square off Saturday evening as the Chicago Cubs (11-20, 4th in NL Central) do battle with the Arizona Diamondbacks (18-15, 4th in NL West). The Diamondbacks will host this one at Chase Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.
Arizona took the first game of this series Friday night, 4-3. In the win, Zach Davies went 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits to pick up his second win of the season.
The Diamondbacks’ offense was able to pick up 12 hits. Ketel Marte and Christian Walker went a combined five for eight. Despite getting the win, Arizona did leave 18 runners on base.
Drew Smyly picked up his fourth loss of the season in the defeat. In six innings, he allowed four earned runs on ten hits and a walk.
Designated hitter Frank Schwindel had two hits in the loss. Interestingly, the top five players in the Cubs’ lineup did not have a single hit, as all of the production came from the bottom of the lineup.
The Diamondbacks are the favorite on Saturday playing at home. They are -156 to win while the Cubs’ moneyline sits at +132. The runline features Chicago +1.5 (-160), and the over/under for total runs is 7.5.
Cubs Looking To Get Back On Track
After looking like they could be competitive in the first week of the season, the Cubs have fallen on hard times as of late. They have lost seven of their last ten and have now fallen nine games back of the Milwaukee Brewers for first in the division.
The Cubs have struggled both at home (4-11) and on the road (7-9) this season.
Taking the mound for David Ross’ club Saturday will be veteran righty Kyle Hendricks. This season, he is 2-3 with a 4.38 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and has struck out 30 in 39 innings.
In his last start, he picked up the win after going 8.2 innings of scoreless ball against the San Diego Padres. In the two starts previous to that one, he gave up a combined ten earned runs.
Offensively, catcher Willson Contreras has gotten off to a fast start. He is hitting .295/.407/.505 with four home runs and ten runs batted in over 95 at bats. In his career, Contreras is two for two against Diamondbacks’ starter Zac Gallen.
Arizona Trying To Compete In Loaded Division
There may be no better division in baseball right now than the NL West.
Even their worst team, the Colorado Rockies, are at .500. The Diamondbacks, who sit in fourth place, are 18-15. Crazily, that would put them in second place in each of the other two National League divisions.
With the likes of the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants ahead of them, the Diamondbacks will try to continue playing good ball as they attempt to stay relevant in the division.
Righty Zac Gallen will take the ball for Arizona Saturday. In five starts this season, he is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, and has 26 strikeouts in 28.1 innings pitched.
Both of his wins have come in his last two outings as he has gone a combined 13.1 innings, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 12 over that span.
Dalton Varsho has been solid with the stick thus far. He is hitting .248/.331/.476 with six home runs and 14 runs batted in. He is tied with Christian Walker for the lead in both of those categories.
Take The Surging Diamondbacks To Win
It is hard to envision the Diamondbacks staying competitive this whole season in the NL West. Still, it is also hard to ignore the fact they are red hot, having won eight of their last ten games.
Between their solid play, the dynamite start of Zac Gallen, and the inconsistencies of the Cubs, Arizona seems like a solid bet right now.
It might be hard to jump on them covering the -1.5 runline, but there is value in taking them to win straight up over the struggling Cubs.