Anthony Rizzo is back at his rightful spot atop the order as the Cubs attempt to complete the sweep in the desert. He’s followed by Kris Bryant in left, Javier Báez at short, and Patrick Wisdom at third. Then it’s Jason Heyward in right, Jake Marisnick in center, Nico Hoerner at second, and Robinson Chirinos behind the plate.
Zach Davies has been solid on the season and he put together a really nice run through May and the first half of June, but things have fallen off a bit over his last five starts. To be fair, things look a lot better when we throw out the abysmal outing against the Marlins on June 18. However, Davies continues to have issues with the zone and has struck out 14 with 12 walks over his last four starts (19.1 IP), bringing his season totals to 59 Ks and 48 BBs.
Going for the Diamondbacks is 32-year-old righty Merrill Kelly, who is in his third season with Arizona after four years in the KBO. Kelly sets off his 92 mph fastball with a sinker, curve, change, and cutter, the latter of which has been pretty effective for him this season and over the course of his career. The four-seam has not been so great, but the sinker is decent and the curve has been consistently good.
Kelly’s changeup hasn’t been very good, which you’d think might lead to traditional splits with lefties hitting him well. On the contrary, right-handed hitters come into this game with a .284 average and .346 wOBA on the season. That’s much higher than his career performance, which was actually almost even prior to 2021.
Though he does a good job of keeping the ball in the yard, Kelly has allowed at least four hits in all but one of his 19 starts this season and he’s surrendered five more hits 14 times. The Cubs should be able to make contact in this one, it’s just a matter of stringing those knocks together. Even if Kelly does stifle them, the Diamondbacks have an awful bullpen.
First pitch is set for 3:10pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 18, 2021