Series Preview: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks

The MLB All Star game has come and gone and things are quiet for another two days of relaxation before baseball begins again (well, things probably aren’t too quiet in the front offices). On Friday, the Cubs will kick off the second half of the season as the Arizona Diamondbacks come to the Friendly Confines for three games. As the trade deadline approaches and prospects continue to develop, the Cubs could be looking at a very different team to start this second half. Will Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair show why they were All Stars this year? How will Anthony Rizzo do in the second half? How long until Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson get their chances in the show? So many questions, so much baseball to be played.

Probable Starters

Game 1 (1:20 p.m. CT)

Paul Maholm (6-6, 4.57 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (6-7, 4.29)

Game 2 (12:05 p.m. CT)

Ryan Dempster (4-3, 1.99 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44 ERA)

Game 3 (1:20 p.m. CT)

Matt Garza (4-7, 4.32 ERA) vs. Trevor Cahill (7-7, 3.64 ERA)

Series Studs

CHC: Anthony Rizzo (6-13, 1 HR, 3 RBI)

  • Rizzo has been one of the few reasons for Cubs fans to get excited about this season. While he didn’t get the 500 minor league at-bats that Theo Epstein seemed so adamant about, it appears to be good timing. In 12 games as a Chicago Cub, Rizzo has batted .354 with four homeruns, nine RBI and only five strikeouts. The only question that remains is whether or not Rizzo can keep up this type of production as an everyday starter in the second half.

ARI: Justin Upton (7-15, 3 RBI)

Series Duds

CHC: Steve Clevenger (0-4, 2 SO)

  • Clevenger’s name has barely come up in this section, but he wore the collar in his only appearance in the series against the New York Mets. However, his play in the first half of the season has been essential as Geovany Soto has been having a dreadfully slow start. Clevenger had a bad game, but he will get more chances to make up for it as the Cubs will likely look to ship Soto elsewhere as the trade deadline approaches. Hopefully, teams will look at his past performances and his potential rather than his current stat line.

ARI: Willie Bloomquist (2-13, 2 SO)

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