Game Forty-Three: Cubs (24-18) vs. Diamondbacks (20-22)
- Game Time – 3:10pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: WGN-TV Ch. 9 – Radio: WBBM 780, Cubs Radio Network, XM Radio Channels 187, 844
- Location – Chase Field, Phoenix
Jason Hammel (3-1, 2.70/0.92/3.02) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (1-3, 5.52/1.57/4.61)
The Cubs turn to Jason Hammel this afternoon in the series finale with the Diamondbacks. The Cubs have a chance at a winning road trip in two ballparks the organization has traditionally struggled. The Cubs are 3-2 in the first five games after taking two of three at PETCO Park and splitting the first two games at Chase Field. And a victory today, would mean Meat Loaf for Maddon on the happy flight back to Chicago.
Joe Maddon must load up his lineup with has many left handed bats as possible, even if it means giving Jorge Soler a day off. Lefties have crushed Jeremy Hellickson this season (.389/.458/.518 with .922 OPS) while right handers (.234/281/.410 with .668 OPS) have had considerably less success. Maddon has been looking for a way to give Soler, Starlin Castro and Addison Russell a breather. Maybe a day of Russell at short with Mike Baxter in right and Jonathan Herrera at second base would accomplish two of his three goals.
Maddon should have a full bullpen this afternoon. Even with Jake Arrieta lasting only six innings, Edwin Jackson gave the Cubs a much needed inning and both James Russell and Jason Motte were efficient in the eighth inning. Maddon says Hector Rondon is the Cubs’ closer. If the Cubs have a lead late in the game, look for him to mix and match in the eighth and hold back Pedro Strop just in case Rondon struggles in the ninth.
This afternoon all starts with Jason Hammel …
In case you’ve missed it, Jason Hammel has turned in five straight quality starts and he’s coming off a very good outing in San Diego. The Cubs lost the opener with the Padres 4-3, not because of Hammel or the bullpen, because the infield could not catch the baseball. Errors by Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro and Addison Russell gave the Padres three runs.
The only mistake Hammel made in seven very good innings was a wild pitch that he uncorked that put the tying run in scoring position. Hammel tied a season-high with eight strikeouts while not walking a batter and scattering three hits.
Jason Hammel is 1-0 in his last four starts with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP. Hammel has 26 strikeouts with five walks in 28 innings. For the season, Hammel has struck out 49 batters in 53 1/3 innings while issuing six free passes.
Outside of Wrigley Field this year, Hammel is 2-1 in four starts with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.
Jason Hammel makes the 10th start of his career against the D-Backs this afternoon. Hammel is 4-3 in 12 appearances, nine starts, with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Hammel beat Arizona the only time he faced them a year ago. Hammel allowed one run on four hits in seven innings with no walks and four strikeouts. For his career, Hammel is 2-1 in six appearances, three starts, in the wonderful park the D-Backs call home with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Jason Hammel
- Aaron Hill: 2-for-14 with one walk
- Mark Trumbo: 2-for-8
- Paul Goldschmidt: 1-for-6 with one double
- Tuffy Gosewisch: 1-for-2 with one home run
- Chris Owings: 1-for-2
- Cliff Pennington: 0-for-1
Jeremy Hellickson has been serviceable in his first season with the Diamondbacks. Hellickson is coming off one of his better efforts of the year in Miami. Hellickson held the floundering Fish to two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out four.
Over his last four starts, Hellickson has allowed 14 runs on 22 hits with eight walks and 16 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings (5.82 ERA, 1.38 WHIP). And he has struggled at Chase Field to the tune of a 0-2 record in four starts with a 7.45 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP.
It will be up the Cubs to keep the pressure on Hellickson and make him work. The offense has made life too easy on the opposing pitchers during this road trip.
Jeremy Hellickson makes his first career appearance against the Cubs this afternoon.
Chris Coghlan (2-for-5 with one triple, one home run and one walk) is the only player on the Cubs’ active roster that has faced Jeremy Hellickson in a regular season game. Several of the players saw Hellickson in Spring Training and the former Rays’ hurler was very sharp in a game that did not count.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …