The Cubs started the second half of the season by winning three of five against the rival Cardinals. Combined with the Brewers losing two of three, the Northsiders have built a season-best 3.5 game lead in the NL Central. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though, as a doubleheader and an injury to Brandon Morrow has thrown the pitching staff into a little bit of disarray.
Chicago now gets set to finish their nine-game homestand with four games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. After a red-hot start to the season, the D-Backs have fallen out of first in the NL West. Paul Goldschmidt has recovered nicely from his early slump and is back to MVP level production, but the non-Zach Greinke portion of the rotation has struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness recently.
That stands in contrast to a bullpen that has a very impressive 3.17 ERA through 100 games. Closer Brad Boxberger has been particularly effective, as have TJ McFarland and Yoshihisa Hirano. They’ll be trying to limit a Cubs offense that has really hit its stride over the last few weeks.
The Cubs staff is also starting to come around, though things are pretty tight out of the break with 12 games in 11 days. Jose Quintana going seven strong innings Sunday helped, but an undermanned ‘pen will be tested more this series. With the rotation jammed up from the twin bill, Luke Farrell gets a spot start on Monday.
For the most part, the Cubs offense has been able to rally back from early deficits. Sunday’s win was their 32nd after trailing at some point in the game, though it’d be nice to see them hang some early crooked numbers and just run away with a few. With the Brewers struggling, the Cubs have a chance to build on their division lead the next few days. Arizona is a talented team, though, so it won’t be easy.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, July 23 at 7:05 pm CT on ESPN and NBC Sports Chicago
- Tuesday, July 24 at 7:05 pm CT on WGN
- Wednesday, July 25 at 1:20 pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
- Thursday, July 26 at 1:20 pm CT on MLB Network (out of market) NBC Sports Chicago
What to Watch For
- Anthony Rizzo has 16 hits in the eight games since he was inserted into the leadoff spot. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.
- Jesse Chavez, acquired in a trade late last week, has been outstanding so far. The former Ranger has thrown three perfect innings in two games as a Cub.
- Kris Bryant hasn’t been really hot since early in the season, but he had two hits on Sunday and maybe he’s ready to finally kick things back into gear.