A pair of National League teams kick off a series in the Windy City at the Friendly Confines looking for a victory. The Arizona Diamondbacks are on the road as they open up a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs Friday afternoon. Arizona swept a three-game series from Pittsburgh at home as they took the finale of the set 6-4 Wednesday afternoon. Chicago closed a four-game set on the road against St. Louis looking for a split Thursday night. The Cubs fell 3-2 in 10 innings on Wednesday night in their most recent contest. In the season series, Chicago took two of three on the road in the first series between the teams July 16-18.
Arizona Diamondbacks Looking to Maintain MomentumArizona won their fourth straight as they swept the Pirates at home but it’s far too little, too late for them to be considered a viable threat for the postseason. The Diamondbacks entered Thursday last in the NL West, 31.5 games behind the Giants for the top spot. In the NL wild-card race, the team stood 26 games behind the Padres for the second wild-card spot. On Wednesday, Arizona got three hits from Nick Ahmed (RBI) while Josh Rojas (RBI), Pavin Smith (two runs, RBI) and Daulton Varsho (two runs, RBI) each added two. Smith (his ninth) and Varsho (his second) homered back-to-back in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie and give Arizona the win. Madison Bumgarner didn’t factor in the decision as he threw five innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits with no walks and one strikeout. Brett de Gues (2-0) earned the win in relief as he threw two-thirds of an inning, walking one. Joakim Soria worked the ninth, striking out one, for his sixth save.
Zac Gallen makes his 11th start of the season for the Diamondbacks in this contest looking to pick up a victory. He comes in 1-4 with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.329 WHIP, 23 walks and 56 strikeouts over 46.2 innings of action on the year. Gallen didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came Saturday at home against the Cubs. He threw 5.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in a game Arizona dropped 4-2. Pitching on the road this season, Gallen is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA, a 1.269 WHIP, 14 walks and 23 strikeouts over 26 innings in five starts. Gallen makes his second career start against the Cubs with the first one coming Sunday. He has no record, a 1.59 ERA, a 0.882 WHIP, two walks and seven strikeouts over 5.2 innings of work. In his 38th career major league start, Gallen pitches at Wrigley Field for the first time here.
Chicago Cubs Hoping to Turn Things Around at HomeChicago went into Thursday’s finale with the Cardinals having dropped three of their last four as they fell in extra innings Wednesday. The Cubs entered Thursday fourth in the NL Central, 8.5 games behind the Brewers for the top spot. In the NL wild card race, the team was eight games behind San Diego for the second wild card spot. On Wednesday, Chicago got two hits each from Rafael Ortega (RBI) and Jason Heyward while also having five batters hit in the game. The Cubs were just one of 14 with runners in scoring position and left 12 guys on base. Kyle Hendricks didn’t factor in the decision as he threw 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Craig Kimbrel (0-2) took the loss as he allowed one run (none earned) on one hit with one walk and one strikeout over two-thirds of an inning.
Zach Davies is expected to get the call for his 21st start of the year for Chicago here. He comes in 5-6 with a 4.35 ERA, a 1.479 WHIP, 52 walks and 62 strikeouts over 97.1 innings of work on the season. Davies didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came Sunday on the road against Arizona. He threw 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in a game the Cubs eventually dropped 6-4. At home this season, Davies is 3-3 with a 4.27 ERA, a 1.348 WHIP, 21 walks and 25 strikeouts over 52.2 innings in 10 starts. Davies makes his eighth career start against the Diamondbacks in this contest. He is 4-2 with a 3.49 ERA, a 1.241 WHIP, 13 walks and 23 strikeouts over 38.2 innings of work against them. Davies is 7-6 with a 4.00 ERA, a 1.322 WHIP, 31 walks and 59 strikeouts over 101.1 innings in 19 career starts at Wrigley Field.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Diamondbacks are 2-14 in their last 16 Friday games
- Diamondbacks are 0-7 in Gallen's last 7 starts
- Diamondbacks are 0-7 in Gallen's last 7 starts on grass
- Cubs are 6-1 in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
While Arizona comes into this one winners of four straight games, the fact remains that the team is a last-place club with nothing to play for at this point but pride. The Diamondbacks are going to be sellers over the next week before the trade deadline and it will be interesting to see who is around after that point. Gallen pitched well in his start against the Cubs last week but that game came at home. It was also his longest start since a six-inning stint back on May 7 against the Mets. Davies hasn’t been great by any stretch as his control continues to be an issue as evidenced by his 1.19 K:BB ratio on the season. With that said, the Cubs play well at home, posting a 28-17 mark, while Arizona is a dismal 11-38 on the road this season. Chicago has a pretty strong bullpen and they pick up the slack for Davies to give the home team a victory.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both pitchers have been fairly decent when it comes to pitching in day games this season. Gallen is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA, a 1.125 WHIP, 10 walks and 27 strikeouts over 24 innings in five starts during the day on the year. Davies has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.78 ERA, a 1.458 WHIP, 18 walks and 20 strikeouts over 35.2 innings of work in seven starts in day games on the year. Arizona averages only 3.71 runs per game on the road this season, which is nearly a full run lower than their home average (4.67) to date. Chicago is much better offensively at home, averaging 4.82 runs per game at Wrigley Field, which works in their favor. Arizona has issues pitching on the road, ranking dead last in the majors by giving up 5.82 runs a game as the visiting team. That’s enough to see the Cubs putting up five or six runs and pushing this one over the total.