Two of the National League’s worst teams try to gain some type of momentum during the final week before the All-Star break.
Chicago Cubs at Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago heads West for the second time in the last 14 days to begin a three-game series at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs can only hope to forget Sunday’s 14-3 blowout defeat at the hands of division-rival Cincinnati. “They hit seven home runs,” manager Lou Piniella said. “You would think we could get a few balls up in the air and let them ride out of here.” Chicago will look to win its first series opener since May 25, as they’ve lost 11 series openers in a row. The Cubs are desperate for a season turnaround having lost 21 of their last 32 games, but may have success in doing so against tonight’s opponent. Chicago stands at 7-2 against National League West competition, including a 3-1 mark against the Diamonbacks. The Cubs are 28-45 against all other foes.
Cubs starting pitcher Tom Gorzelanny is 2-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 16 appearances (10 starts) in 2010 (-860). He owns a 1-3 record and 4.24 ERA in eight games (six starts) at home compared to a 1-2 mark and 1.86 ERA on the road (eight games, four starts). The left-hander has also posted 1-4 mark and 3.52 ERA at night this season in comparison to an even 1-1 record and 2.78 ERA during the day. He has tallied a 2-1 record and 4.50 ERA in five career starts against the Diamondbacks, including picking up a 10-5 home victory on May 2. Gorzelanny lasted seven innings in that contest, while striking out a season-high 10 batters.
Arizona stands in last place in the National League West division and have dropped 12 of their last 18 games. The main problem for the Diamondbacks’ offense has been the strikeout, with the club coming into this series with a major league-high mark of 761. “We are trying to address that. We are trying to get people to make adjustments,” manager Kirk Gibson said. Young superstar Justin Upton has been improving at the plate since June 10, hitting safely in 14 of his last 21 games. The club ranks second in the National League with 55 home runs and an on-base percentage of .359 at home. The Diamondbacks have been awful against clubs with a losing record this season, going 6-17 (-1,060) after producing a 99-90 mark in this situation the last three years (-660).
Diamondbacks starting pitcher Ian Kennedy is 3-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 16 starts this season (-410), but has dropped three straight decisions. Over that span, the right-hander has allowed 13 runs and 17 hits over 18 innings of work. In his last start, he walked a season-high nine batters in just 5.1 frames in a 5-3 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. “It’s not acceptable and it’s very, very frustrating,” Kennedy said after the start. “I have to look at film and figure it out quick before my next outing.” The right-hander picked up a 13-5 road victory in his only career start against tonight’s opponent, allowing five runs (four earned) and six hits over eight innings.
Bettors will try to make the best of this matchup against two very bad ball clubs. The Cubs are 5-2 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season (+380), but that is wiped out by the Diamondbacks being 4-1 at home with a money line of -100 to -125 (+290). Total players may get the best of it, as Chicago stands at 1-8 O/U on the road when the total is 9 to 9.5.