The Cubs have won three straight series, one of which came in Arizona against the same team they’re facing tonight. It was a very grindy affair, however, with neither team scoring more than four runs or winning by more than two in any of the games. Late runs helped the Cubs to their victories, which is the opposite of what we saw against the Pirates.
The home team gets a boost in the form of Marcus Stroman, who is on the mound after being reactivated from the COVID IL to make his first start in over two weeks. His best performance of the season came in that last effort, so here’s to hoping he’s been able to stay sharp.
The Diamondbacks will counter with Zac Gallen, who had a no-decision Saturday after six brilliant innings of work that included just one run on two hits. He struck out six and walked just one, but Kyle Hendricks kept pace in order to give his team a chance to rally for late. Gallen has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season and he could very well stifle his opponents again in this one.
With a 1.05 ERA and just five walks to 35 strikeouts, the 26-year-old righty isn’t afraid to attack hitters. He’ll pump that 94-95 mph fastball in the zone to set up a change, slider, and curve that have all been above-average this season. That balanced repertoire has led him to pretty even platoon splits over the course of his career, though he’s destroying lefties this season.
While the numbers even out a bit more when he’s away from the desert, Gallen has still limited left-handed hitters to a .192 wOBA on the road. At the risk of setting myself up for gotcha responses in the event that the Cubs jump on him, the hope here has to be that they can simply withstand his outing until the D-backs have to go to a bullpen that hasn’t been all that great lately.
Rafael Ortega will try to chip away as he leads off in center, followed by Willson Contreras as the DH and Ian Happ in left. Seiya Suzuki puts his seven-game hit streak on the line in right and Yan Gomes, who homered against Gallen in that last game, is the catcher. Frank Schwindel is at first, Patrick Wisdom is at third, Christopher Morel is at second, and Andrelton Simmons is at short.
First pitch from Wrigley is at 6:40pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 19, 2022