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Game #99: Diamondbacks vs. Cubs

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The Diamondbacks haven't had a home sweep all season. They have the chance to do so this afternoon against the Cubs.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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Jake Arrieta
RHP, 5-1, 1.95
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Josh Collmenter
RHP, 7-5, 3.80

Diamondbacks Lineup

  1. Ender Inciarte - CF
  2. David Peralta - LF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
  4. Miguel Montero - C
  5. Aaron Hill - 2B
  6. Gerardo Parra - RF
  7. Martin Prado - 3B
  8. Didi Gregorius - SS
  9. Josh Collmenter - P

If the Cubs have a future, we're probably seeing it this afternoon in the shape of Arrieta, who looks to be one of the young building blocks around whom the team can be constructed moving forward. He was picked up from Baltimore in a trade last July, his stock having tumbled after being the Orioles' Opening Day starter in 2012 and throwing seven shutout innings. But since the deal, he has gone 9-3 with a 2.63 ERA for Chicago. He has taken to throwing his wipeout slider a lot more often, and it has proved extremely effective, with his K-rate ay 27.5%, almost half again above what it was last season. This'll show you why (via PitcherGIFs). .

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He hasn't lost in eight starts since May, with 59 strikeouts in 53 innings over that time, and a 1.36 ERA. Let's face it, beating the likes of Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood, as the Diamondbacks have done this series, while nice, doesn't really indicate the team has turned any sort of corner after the break. If they can do what good teams like Arrieta's last two opponents, Washington and Atlanta, failed to, and tag Arrieta with an L, then there might be some genuine cause for optimism.

It would be additionally notable, since we haven't seen a home sweep all year. Heck, the only time we have even got to the final contest this season with the chance of a sweep was a two-game series against the Indians - but even there, it took 14 innings and five and a half hours for the Diamondbacks to scratch out a victory in the first one. Yesterday was also nice because it was just Arizona's second win by more than three runs since we completed our last sweep, in Colorado on June 5. We've been blown-out (5 runs or more) twice as often as we've done the blowing ourselves, and that's a large part of why our run differential remains the worst in the NL.