The Arizona Diamondbacks open a crucial four-game series at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs, one of the teams ahead of them in the wild-card race. Thursday’s opener kicks off at 4:40pm and can be watched on YurView TV.
Jordan Lawlar records first major league win as Diamondbacks lead Cubs
CHICAGO — Jordan Lollar earned his first major league hit in the fourth inning on Thursday. Lawlar, the Diamondbacks’ top prospect, hit a somewhat routine groundout to third base but used his speed to beat Jeimer Candelario’s throw across the diamond.
On his first at-bat of the second inning, Lollar bounced to first base to end the inning.
Lawlar’s historic hit came amid a strange scene at Wrigley Field, where two fans in the left field stands got married earlier in the at bat, drawing huge cheers from nearby fans as Cubs pitcher Javier Assad worked through the at bat.
Half an inning after his strike, Lawlar added to his day with an impressive sliding backhand volley to deny Nico Horner a single.
The Diamondbacks open up the lead over the Cubs with a Ketel Marte homer
CHICAGO — The wind may have been blowing at Wrigley Field on Thursday night, but that didn’t stop the Diamondbacks’ bats. They led 3-0 in the fourth period.
Tommy Pham opened the scoring with a home run to right-center field in the top of the first inning before Ketel Marte tripled the lead, coming home to baskets over the ivy in center field to make it 3-0. A homer could have extended the Diamondbacks’ lead even further, but Corbin Carroll was thrown out extending a single into a double on the previous play.
Diamondbacks starter Ryne Nelson has given up his share of hard contact in his return from a four-game stint in Triple-A, but two of the Cubs’ fly balls died on the warning track. It is encouraging that Nelson struck out three Cubs early in the game. His biggest problem this season has been his inability to strike out hitters.
The Diamondbacks’ bullpen takes on a different look with the demotion of Bryce Jarvis
CHICAGO — As part of a series of moves they made ahead of Thursday’s series opener against the Cubs, the Diamondbacks optioned reliever Bryce Jarvis to Triple-A, clearing a spot on the 28-man roster for Ryne Nelson, who starts Thursday.
The move left their bullpen with an unusual appearance as the Diamondbacks do not have a typical tall reliever. Since his debut in August, Jarvis has excelled in the role, pitching to a 2.81 ERA and averaging more than two innings per outing.
However, the Diamondbacks felt comfortable with this decision because the expansion of active rosters in September meant they had nine relievers in the bullpen, instead of the eight they carried for most of the season.
“We can just ask a couple of guys to do two rounds instead of one,” Lovullo said. “So we’ll be fine. So we don’t have a specific long player like we did with Bryce, but we’ll be good in coverage.”
The Diamondbacks also claimed catcher Seby Zavala from the White Sox. Zavala reported to the major league club, while Jose Herrera was optioned to Triple-A.
Zavala is just a .205 career hitter and is hitting .155/.207/.304 this season, but the Diamondbacks believe he will be a defensive upgrade as a backup catcher.
Pitching game between the Diamondbacks and Cubs on Thursday
Diamondbacks RHP Ryan Nelson (6-7, 5.47) vs. Cubs RHP Javier Assad (3-2, 2.69).
Nelson is expected to be called up from Triple-A Reno to make his first start in the major leagues since the middle of last month. … in four starts with Reno, Nelson posted a 3.74 ERA in 21 2/3 innings pitched but struck out only nine with seven walks in that span. … Nelson was said to be working on a sharper and tighter slider which the club hoped would result in more swings and errors. … Assad has spent most of the year working outside of work, but moved into rotation at the beginning of last month. He’s been fantastic ever since, posting a 1.95 ERA in 37 innings. … Most recently, he shot eight scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds, walking once and scoring seven. … Lion has a deep repertoire that includes both the four-seam and two-seam fastball, the snapper, the slider, the curve ball, and the swing ball. Statistically, his slider was his best showing, bringing batters to a . 114 average for a whiff rate of 44.6 percent.
Friday: At Chicago, 11:20 a.m., Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen (14-7, 3.48) vs. Cubs RHP Jameson Taillon (7-9, 5.73).
Saturday: At Chicago, 11:20 a.m., Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly (11-6, 3.22) vs. Cubs LHP Justin Steele (16-3, 2.55).
Sunday: At Chicago, 11:20 a.m., Diamondbacks RHP Brandon Pfaadt (1-8, 6.27) vs. Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-7, 3.73).
What do you know about the Chicago Cubs?
The Cubs have been one of the most important teams in baseball since just before the trade deadline, a well-timed streak that will likely convince the front office not to sell out on August 1st. And it turned out to be a good situation: The Cubs entered Wednesday having won 32 of their past 46 games and now in prime position for a spot in the National League — that is, if they don’t catch the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. The Diamondbacks will face the Cubs seven times over the next 11 days, games that could determine either team’s playoff hopes or placement. CF Cody Bellinger was the Cubs’ best hitter this year. He owns a .319/.364/.546 line with 23 homers and 19 steals. RF Seiya Suzuki is hitting .273/.344/.463 with 16 homers; He has hit .362 with seven homers since August 9. 3B Jeimer Candelario, who was acquired by the Cubs from the Nationals at the trade deadline, posted .812 OPS with five teammates with his new team. LHP Justin Steele, who the Diamondbacks will face on Saturday, is a Cy Young candidate; He has a 2.55 ERA with 153 strikeouts and just 33 walks in 152 innings. RHP Adbert Alzolay has converted 22 of 25 save opportunities with a 2.80 ERA.
The Diamondbacks say goodbye to veteran Nick Ahmed
“The hard part of our game”: Ahmed’s time with the Diamondbacks is coming to an end
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained: What does designated for assignment mean in MLB? What do you know about Nick Ahmed?
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”