The Cubs get a break with the schedule coming out of the break, but Jed Hoyer is working to break up the roster so you might want to pump the breaks on any optimism. You know what, though? Fan however the hell you want. Even if this team is on its last legs when it comes to the core players, you can feel free to be pissed about the present or hopeful for the future. Maybe get wild and be both.
Willson Contreras leads off behind the plate, followed by Kris Bryant in right and Anthony Rizzo at first. Javier Báez is at short, Jake Marisnick is in center, Patrick Wisdom is at third, and Nico Hoerner is at second. Ian Happ bats eighth in left, something we’ll probably see a lot of with Joc Pederson gone.
Kyle Hendricks is riding a streak of nine straight winning decisions and hasn’t taken a loss since May 9, so it’d be nice to see him extend that against the Diamondbacks. Hendricks hasn’t faced this team since April of 2019 so there’s really nothing to take away from previous performances, especially since they’re an abject disaster this year.
Going for the home team is venerable lefty Madison Bumgarner, who left the Giants to sign in Arizona for what amounts to a very nice retirement package. Neither MadBum nor his team have been very good, though he does at least appear to be the victim of some bad luck this season. His 5.73 ERA is much higher than his peripherals indicate it should be and his strikeout numbers are on par with those from his best seasons.
Bumgarner’s velocity has bounced back nicely from last season as well, though his curveball is really the only pitch in his arsenal that’s worth anything. The 91 mph fastball is getting lit up and the cutter he throws with equal frequency (36%) has been bad as well. He’s always put up pretty big splits, so teams stack righties against him in order to counter that talent.
There’s really not much left to say on this one because we’re talking about known commodities on the mound and a very bad overall team in the Diamondbacks. The Cubs can’t do anything at this point to reverse their fortunes, but they can at least try to salvage some pride here in the second half.
First pitch from the desert is at 8:40pm CT on Marquee and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 16, 2021