Chicago is no longer the worst team in baseball
As of Friday morning, the
Cubs have moved a half game ahead of the Houston Astros for the dubious
honor of possessing the worst record in baseball.
They have won 9 of their
last 13 games, including a successful 4-3 road trip against the Atlanta
Braves and New York Mets. Arizona ended a recent seven-game homestand
with a disappointing 3-4 record, but did manage to win the last three
games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Diamondbacks are third in
the National League West standings coming out of the All-Star break,
trailing the first-place Dodgers by four games.
Saturday's Game 2
Dempster will continue auditioning over the weekend
There’s a distinct possibility that Ryan Dempster (4-3, 1.99 ERA) could be making his last start in a Cubs uniform, as many teams will have an interest in acquiring the 35-year-old before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 27 innings of work, which has led directly to winning his last four starts. In 19 lifetime appearances (15 starts) versus the Diamondbacks, Dempster has compiled a miserable 2-8 record and 6.72 ERA.
Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44 ERA) is expected to return to the mound this weekend after landing on the 15-day disabled list with a strained throwing shoulder. The left-hander hasn’t received much run support over his last four outings, with the offense scoring just five runs in that span. Saunders has dropped both of his career starts against the Cubs, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) and 14 hits over 8.2 combined frames (7.27 ERA).
Weather forecasts suggest partly cloudy skies and game-time temperatures in the mid-80s, with a 5-10 mph breeze out of the south, which should give us a fair number on the total when the MLB betting odds are released
for this contest. The OVER has cashed in six of Dempster’s last seven outings in this series.
Friday's Game 1
Kennedy was tremendous after the break in 2011
starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (6-7, 4.26 ERA) has failed to live up to
lofty expectations after a sensational 2011 campaign, but a turnaround
may be in the cards in the second half. The right-hander was 12-1 with a
2.11 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break last year. In four
career starts versus the Cubs, Kennedy has tallied an even 1-1 record
and 6.66 ERA, but earned a no decision in a 10-5 home win in this series
on June 23
. He allowed five runs on a season high-tying 10 hits over
4.1 innings in that effort.
Maholm (6-6, 4.57 ERA) has won his last two starts while pitching an
inning of scoreless relief in Sunday’s win over the Mets
left-hander has done his best work under the sun this season, posting a
4-2 record and 3.43 ERA, with opposing hitters batting .230 against him
(.317 at night). Maholm will be searching for his first career win
against the Diamondbacks, entering with an 0-3 mark and 5.34 ERA, and
getting saddled with the loss against Kennedy last month.
Diamondbacks are hitting .281 against left-handed pitching over the
last 10 games, which has played a major part in winning five of their
last six games versus southpaw starters. Arizona has also produced a
13-5 mark in Kennedy’s last 18 starts when taking on losing opposition.