|11:20 AM PT12:20 PM MT1:20 PM CT2:20 PM ET14:20 ET18:20 GMT2:20 11:20 AM MST1:20 PM EST1:50 PM VEN22:20 UAE1:20 PM CT, April 20, 2019
Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 37,667
Greinke, Darvish battle as Cubs host Diamondbacks
Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs
- The Cubs have shut out their opponent in two straight games and four of the last eight. That's the most shutouts they've had in an eight-game span since 1972. Chicago pitchers have a 1.50 ERA in the past eight games after posting a 7.51 ERA through the first nine of the season.
- Arizona has won four in a row, its longest winning streak since last year's All-Star break. A win Friday would assure the Diamondbacks of being above .500 through 20 games for the third straight season.
- The Diamondbacks haven't won a season series from the Cubs since 2014 (5-2). Arizona was 3-4 against them last season despite outscoring Chicago 30-25.
- Christian Walker has homered in three of his last four games and is averaging a home run in every 11.00 at-bats since joining Arizona in 2017. That's the highest rate of any player in baseball who has gone deep at least 10 times in that span.
- Javier Baez has tied a career high with four straight multi-hit games, going 11-for-18 with six extra-base hits and six RBI. He's homered in each of the last two games, and the only time he's ever done so in three straight was May 5-7, 2018.
- Kyle Hendricks has lost his first three starts of a season for the first time in his six-year career, and he's failed to pitch past the fifth inning in any of them. His longest streak of not going beyond the fifth inning is four starts, done once apiece in 2015 and in 2017.
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- A's put Davis on IL, win 7th straight
- Phils overcome Yelich's MLB-best 20th HR
- Yankees' Paxton still nursing sore knee
Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke will try to break his Wrigley Field curse on Saturday afternoon in a big-name pitching matchup at the Chicago Cubs.
Greinke (2-1, 5.79) will be going for his third consecutive victory. He will be opposed by Chicago Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish, who is 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA but is coming off his best performance of the season.
Greinke has pitched well since getting shelled by the Los Angeles Dodgers for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in the season opener. He has 25 strikeouts while walking only two in his past three outings, including throwing seven strong innings in a win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
The problem: He is 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA in five career starts at Wrigley. He has allowed 26 runs (24 earned) and 38 hits in 26 innings.
At least the weather forecast calls for calmer conditions Saturday than what the teams played in Friday, when the Cubs were aided by Kris Bryant's wind-blown double in the second inning. It looked like a harmless fly ball behind second base, but the wind played havoc with it, turning around second baseman Wilmer Flores, who stumbled and fell as the ball fell into no-man's land in shallow right field for a two-out, two-run hit.
"The compelling play was the pop-up that would have been the third out of the inning," said Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. "I thought at least three guys could have made the play. It's unfortunate."
Chicago has won four consecutive games and its starting pitchers have posted a 0.96 ERA (five earned runs) over 46 2/3 innings in the past seven outings.
"It's contagious," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're on a pretty good roll right now. I think it's very sustainable, the starters especially. And the bullpen, too. The bullpen has really righted itself."
Darvish picked up the win Monday at the Miami Marlins, throwing 5 2/3 innings -- his longest start in four tries -- while allowing two runs and striking out a season-high eight. He walked four but did pump up his fastball to 98 mph late in his outing.
"I'm trying to throw as hard as I could -- not for the strike zone -- just as hard as I could," Darvish said in the Chicago Tribune after that game. "I should do that for next time ... Seriously, I'm thinking too much about (throwing) strikes."
Darvish should like seeing Arizona. He is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA in three starts against the Diamondbacks, striking out nearly two batters per inning -- 38 in 19 2/3 innings -- with only two walks.
Chicago nearly posted its third consecutive shutout Friday, but Brad Brach gave up a run in the ninth before Pedro Strop had to lock down a save in a 5-1 victory. The Cubs' streak of 31 scoreless innings was its longest since another 31-inning run in July 1976, according to STATS.
Lovullo found something he liked Friday to carry over into Saturday.
"We had some quality at-bats at times, but we couldn't string anything together," he said. "But what we did do is force them to maneuver in their bullpen. We didn't shut down; we kept banging away at it and make them bring their closer in the game."
Greinke also will be looking to continue his hot streak at the plate. He is batting .444 (4 of 9) with a double and two home runs.
--Field Level Media
Updated April 20, 2019