A pair of National League teams take the field to continue a weekend series on the diamond in the Valley of the Sun. The Chicago Cubs are on the road for the middle game of a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday night. Chicago entered the series off a series win over San Diego on the road as they took a 7-5 win in the rubber game Wednesday. Arizona missed a chance at a sweep of the Marlins at home as they lost the finale of the three-game series 11-3 Wednesday. Last season, the Cubs won the season series 4-2, including taking two of three at home in the most recent series July 23-25, 2021.
This article was published prior to the conclusion of Friday’s series opener at Chase Field.
Chicago Cubs Battling InjuriesChicago took two of three from San Diego on the road after entering that series on a five-game losing skid. The Cubs entered Saturday fourth in the NL Central, nine games behind the Brewers for the top spot in the division race. Against San Diego, Chicago got two hits each from Willson Contreras (three runs, RBI) and Patrick Wisdom (run, RBI) in the contest. Alfonso Rivas drove in the winning runs with a two-run single in the eighth inning while Contreras added his fourth homer of the season in the contest. Keegan Thompson didn’t factor in the decision as he threw four innings, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout. Mychal Givens (2-0) earned the win in relief despite giving up two runs on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts in one inning of work. Rowan Wick worked two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with no walks and two strikeouts, for his second save of the year.
A clutch homecoming for Alfonso Rivas! pic.twitter.com/iSlkW8uLnt— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 11, 2022
Provided that his sore thumb is good to go, Justin Steele would be in line to make his seventh start of the season for the Cubs here. He is 1-4 with a 5.32 ERA, a 1.773 WHIP, 13 walks and 19 strikeouts over 22 innings of work this season. Steele took the loss in his last start, which came Sunday at home against the Dodgers. He threw four innings, allowing two runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts in a game the Cubs lost by a 7-1 count. In his last three starts, Steele is 0-3 with a 6.30 ERA, a 2.10 WHIP, seven walks and nine strikeouts over 10 innings of work. Steele, in his 27th career major league appearance and his 16th start, pitches against the Diamondbacks for the first time. That makes his first career outing at Chase Field as well.
Arizona Diamondbacks Looking to Maintain MomentumArizona fell in the finale of their three-game home set with the Marlins but entered Friday winners of seven of their last nine games. The Diamondbacks are fourth in the NL West, three games behind the Dodgers for the top spot in the division. Against Miami, Arizona got two hits from Alek Thomas (two runs, RBI) while the rest of the team combined for two. Thomas (his first) and Jordan Luplow (his fourth) each went deep in the loss for the Diamondbacks. Merrill Kelly didn’t factor in the decision as he allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks and four strikeouts over five innings of work. Mark Melancon (0-4) took the loss as he allowed four runs on three hits with one walk and no strikeouts in two-thirds of an inning of work.
Zac Gallen is on the mound for the Diamondbacks here as he logs his sixth start of the year in this contest. He comes in 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA, a 0.706 WHIP, four walks and 26 strikeouts over 28.1 innings of work this season. In his last start, Gallen picked up the win against the Rockies Sunday afternoon. He threw seven scoreless frames, allowing five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in a 4-0 Arizona victory. In his last three starts, Gallen is 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA, a 0.72 WHIP, two walks and 17 strikeouts over 19.1 innings of work. Gallen makes his third career start against the Cubs in this contest. He comes in 0-1 with a 7.45 ERA, a 1.448 WHIP, five walks and 12 strikeouts over 9.2 innings of work. Gallen is 7-9 with a 3.03 ERA, a 1.133 WHIP, 51 walks and 174 strikeouts over 145.2 innings of work in 26 career starts at Chase Field.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Arizona has exceeded expectations at this point in time and one has to wonder if this decent start is an aberration. After all, this was a team that went 14-12 in the first month of the season in 2021 only to not pick up another 14 wins until July 19. During May and June, they were a combined 8-48. Gallen has pitched well in the early going and he has been effective at keeping opposing hitters in check. Chicago would be in better shape here if they were throwing Kyle Hendricks on regular rest in this contest. Steele has had problems getting outs and posting clean innings. With so many missing pieces in the mix for the Cubs and a shaky pitcher, you have to give the upper hand to the Diamondbacks at home here.
Full-Game Total Pick
Chicago comes into this game having seen the under post a 14-14-3 mark in their 31 games entering Friday on the year. The Cubs are 19th in the Majors in runs per game with 3.97 contest, a number that trends down to 3.63 runs a game on the road. Chicago’s average total this season is 8.40 runs a game, which drops to 8.19 runs per game on the road. Arizona enters Saturday with the under having posting a 20-12-1 mark in their games this season. The Diamondbacks 24th in runs per game this season as they average 3.64 runs per contest. That number trends down slightly at home to 3.37 runs a night. Arizona’s average total of the season is 7.62 runs per game, a number that drops to 7.10 runs per game at Chase Field. Look for this game to wind up falling short of the total.