Monday, July 5, 2010

Series Preview: Cubs VS D'backs

After a 2-5 homestand, the Cubs will try to bounce back in this three game series in Arizona. The two teams are meeting at Chase Field for the first time this season. The Cubs took three out of four at Wrigley Field from April 29-May 2, which was the first series between the two clubs in 2010. The Cubs and Diamondbacks will not meet again until next season after Wednesday's game.

The Cubs are embarking on a seven game road trip that leads up to the All-Star Break. After this series, they will play four at Dodger Stadium. The Cubs are in fourth place with a 35-47 mark. They are 11.5 back of first place Cincinnati but just two back of the third place Brewers. The Cubs dropped three of four against the Reds at Wrigley this weekend. Yesterday's game got ugly in the seventh inning when Ted Lilly and Jeff Stevens gave up a total of eight runs. Drew Stubbs hit three home runs on the Fourth of July in his team's 14-3 blowout win.

The Cubs are 15-24 on the road going into this West Coast trip, and 3-7 in their last ten games. However, things have also been a struggle for the D'backs. They fired manager A.J. Hinch and GM Josh Byrnes last week. Jerry Dipoto will take over GM duties for the rest of the year and bench coach Kirk Gibson has been named the interim manager. Gibson's club has a 32-50 record, which puts them in dead last in the NL West, 17 games behind the Padres.

The D'backs are in the middle of a ten game homestand that they started by losing two of three to the Dodgers. They dropped yesterday's game 3-1. After the Cubs leave town, the Marlins will come in for four before the break.

Both teams have only one All-Star. Chris Young and Marlon Byrd are both NL reserve outfielders, and both men will make their first trip to the Mid-Summer Classic. Young is hitting .264 with 15 homers and 57 RBIs. Byrd leads the Cubs with a .309 average to go along with his 9 homers, 35 RBIs, and .355 OBP.

Aramis Ramirez, who's hitting just .177 in 55 games, was scratched on Sunday with swelling in his thumb. He has already missed several weeks with a thumb injury this season. No timetable has been set for his return.

The homestand was not a favorable one for the Cubs. Lee hit .120, Theriot hit .222, Lilly gave up a career high 11 hits on Sunday, and they stranded 17 guys on base in Saturday's win. The Cubs are looking to snap a string of losing 11 straight series openers with a win this afternoon. In those 11 series, the Boys in Blue are 1-10. Tyler Colvin, who went deep twice yesterday for the first time in his career, is the only Cub swinging the bat well.

Game 1: Monday at 3:10 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Tom Gorzelanny, LHP (2-5, 3.14 ERA)
D'backs Starting Pitcher: Ian Kennedy, RHP (3-6, 3.77 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN 720

Game 2: Tuesday at 8:40 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Carlos Silva, RHP (8-2, 2.96 ERA)
D'backs Starting Pitcher: Barry Enright, RHP (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
TV/Radio: CSN/WGN 720

Game 3: Wednesday at 8:40 CT
Cubs Starting Pitcher: Ryan Dempster, RHP (6-7, 3.54 ERA)
D'backs Starting Pitcher: Edwin Jackson, RHP (6-6, 4.74 ERA)
TV/Radio: WGN-TV/WGN 720

Can the Cubs lackluster offense pick it up? It will be a challenge, as the Cubs have always been known to have problems on the West Coast!

"I don't care who wins as long as it's the Cubs!"

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