Chicago (22-30) is in the midst of an up and down point a third of the way into the season, coming back to win their last 4 after dropping 6 straight. They'll be looking for #5 this afternoon against Arizona (30-23), a team also victimized by inconsistency as of late despite holding onto the NL West lead.
After sweeping their interstate rival White Sox, they'll hand the ball over to Matt Garza who hasn't recorded a decision in his only 2 starts of the season. During his last start he pitched 3 solid innings eventually striking out 7, but had a miserable 4th inning walking a total of 4 batters and yielding 4 runs and 4 hits against Cincinnati. Inconsistency has unfortunately followed Garza since his successful seasons with Tampa Bay, mainly due to lack of run support and at times control this being his third season with the Cubs.
Garza will be facing a Diamondback lineup that has hit a consistently collective .262 so far this season averaging nearly 4.2 runs per contest. Paul Goldschmidt (.337 12 41) far and away leads the club in production and hitting, while Eric Chavez (.325 7 25) has also been clutch. However Chavez this afternoon was placed on the 15 day DL with an oblique strain as Willie Bloomquist will take his roster spot in the interim. Gerardo Parra (.304 4 13) is second on the snakes in hits and runs scored, and contributions from AJ Pollock and Martin Prado give Arizona plenty of options and balance through the lineup. Despite several injuries and some of their core hitters off to starts they may not be accustomed to, the confines of Wrigley could easily be a starting point to get off the schneid.
Arizona counters with Wade Miley (3-4 4.53) who didn't stick around for too long last time out against San Diego. Miley yielded 7 runs in just 3 2/3 innings while being struck by a line drive to add insult to injury. While Miley is looking to get back on the winning track this afternoon, he will be facing a Cubs lineup who is hitting just .250 but also averaging a tad over 4 runs per game. Fan favortie Anthony Rizzo (.263 10 36) has been keeping things barely afloat in the Windy City leading the team in HR, RBI and runs scored. Nate Schierholtz (.285 6 20) hasn't had many opportunities as he'd like but nonetheless has made the most of them as has Luis Valbuena (.265 6 17). Also keep a watchful eye on Alfonso Soriano (.269 5 20) who sports a career .437 mark against Arizona in his career.
Another low price this afternoon may be a tad offset by a relatively higher line at Wrigley. However we feel that the elements are right to have a slugfest this afternoon with the ball carrying out to both outfields in the relative warmth. Both pitchers are going to have to be on their A game if they look to take the first game of this weekend series and that could be a tall order given the success on both sides. Best of luck however you play!