After winning two out of three against the second-place Brewers, the Cubs have a 2.5 game lead in the NL Central. They now begin a six-game homestand that kicks off with a set against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Excellent starting pitching has been key to Chicago’s second-half surge. The Cubs have allowed only 2.73 runs a game since July 15th, and that includes 11 runs allowed in a lopsided loss to the Cardinals.
Their opponents this week are no slouches either, as Arizona currently holds the top Wild Card spot in the National League. Their team ERA of 3.43 is the second lowest in baseball behind the mighty Dodgers. Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker, and former Cub farmhand Zack Godley have formed a stellar starting rotation.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is on pace for another 30 homer season with an OPS of 1.007, which, if you weren’t aware, is pretty solid.
This series gives us our first look at a Cubs roster that has been bolstered for a late-season run with the additions of reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila from the Tigers. Wilson joins a crew of high-leverage setup men behind closer Wade Davis, while Avila will back up Willson Contreras.
The Northsiders are well positioned to tighten their grip on the division. The additions they’ve made should make that a reality, but that’s why they play the games.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Tuesday, August 1 at 7:05 CT on CSN-C
- Wednesday, August 2 at 7:05 CT on WGN
- Thursday, August 3 at 1:20 CT on MLB Network (out of market) and CSN-C
What To Watch For
- Kris Bryant had five hits his last two games, including a home run on Sunday. He may finally be healing after his jammed finger in Atlanta.
- Jason Heyward followed his game-winning homer Saturday with two hits in Sunday’s win. Hopefully it is the start of a hot streak for the Cubs right fielder.
- After a disappointing 2016 in the desert, Zack Greinke is dominating in 2017. Greinke has thirteen wins and a staggering 5.52 K/BB ratio and is generating some Cy Young buzz.
- Jon Jay has been white hot since the All-Star break. He has nine hits his last 19 at-bats, which translates to a .474 batting average. Expect to see more playing time for the pesky outfielder.