Arizona Diamondbacks (65-69)
@ Chicago Cubs (75-57)
The Cubs have similarities to the Diamondbacks. Both teams have a candidate for NL MVP at first base – Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo. Both teams have a rookie star at third base – Jake Lamb and Kris Bryant. Both teams have traded for the other team’s catcher – Welington Castillo and Miguel Montero. And both teams have a catcher who could/should play in the outfield – Peter O’Brien and Kyle Schwarber.
Both teams are more than 10 games out of first place in their Divisions. Although Diamondbacks are better hitters, the Cubs are better pitchers. The significant difference is that the Cubs will more likely play in the post-season. This will be an interesting series.
What about September? Chip Hale said, "We need to see everyone we can to make decisions on next season on who our guys are." One recent success is Phil Gosselin, who has shown he can hit! The Diamondbacks have a young and talented core, plus substantial money (about $50 million per year) to spend in the off-season. "Who our guys are" will guide off-season moves. Clearly, an ace starting pitcher is high priority. For advice on spending wisely, see Shoewizard's recent fanpost.
In the last 8 days, the Cubs had two hot hitters: Kris Bryant (7 RBIs, .333 BA), and Addison Russel (4 RBIs, .136 BA).
In the last 8 days, the Diamondbacks had four blazing hot hitters: A.J. Pollock (7 RBIs, .321 BA), Ender Inciarte (5 RBI, .33 BA), David Peralta(4 RBI, .357 BA), and Philip Gosselin (4 RBIs, .231 BA).
In the last two weeks, the Deserved Run Average (DRA) stayed about the same for our pitchers. Let's look at the current five starting pitchers’ DRAs, ERAs, and Shoewizard’s AVG-WAR.
|Rubby De La Rosa||4.84||4.40||1.0|
Let’s look at the pitching matchups for the series.
Friday. Zack Godley (3.59 DRA, 1.90 ERA) vs Jon Lester(4.13 DRA, 3.59 ERA).
I'm excited to get another look at Zack Godley. He was stellar in his three starts, and good in his two relief appearances.
Although Jon Lester has talent, in his most recent game against the Dodgers he gave up 5 earned runs in 6 innings pitched. Small advantage to Diamondbacks.
Saturday. Robbie Ray(4.24 DRA, 3.72 ERA) vs Jake Arrieta(2.39 DRA, 2.11 ERA).
Robbie Ray has not won a game since July 7. Although he is one of the best Diamondback starters, this game is likely another disappointment.
Jake Arrieta is an excellent pitcher, as reflected in his numbers. He has pitched 14 consecutive quality starts, and his last game was a complete game no-hitter against the Dodgers. Advantage Cubs.
Sunday. Rubby De La Rosa(4.75 DRA, 4.46 ERA) vs Kyle Hendricks(4.00 DRA, 4.15 ERA).
Rubby De La Rosa's fastball is a fireball! On 1 September, his four-seam fastball was clocked at 100.1 mph. That night his average fastball speed was 95.6 mph. I expect some strikeouts!
Kyle Hendricks is as good as any of the Diamondback starters, which is lucky for the Diamondbacks. In his last eight games, he has averaged 0.7 earned runs per inning. Slight advantage to Diamondbacks.
Recent Impact Players
The Diamondbacks continued to win close games. Hitters with 2 or more RBIs were A.J. Pollock(twice), Chris Ownings, Paul Goldschmidt, Aaron Hill, Jarrod Saltalamachia, and Philp Gosselin. Through two games, Josh Collmenter pitched a total of 5 innings with two hits, no walks, and no earned runs.
Based on wins so far, and projecting future games based on runs scored and allowed the Diamondbacks are on pace for 79.5 wins this season, about the same as two weeks ago (80.6 wins).
As the season nears the end, I will relook at this projection one more time. Meanwhile, the upcoming series against the Cubs will be well worth watching, and I predict our Diamondbacks will win this series. Diamondback hitting will trump Cub pitching.
Food of the Series
September fifth is national cheese pizza day. Over the centuries, pizza evolved from flat bread to a diverse array of possibilities. My favorite pizza is homemade dough with fennel seeds mixed in, cooked on a grill, topped with goat cheese and fresh fennel. Fear not – neither of these types of pizza are the food of the series.
The first American pizzeria opened in Manhattan in 1905, and quickly caught on in Chicago. In 1943, in a restaurant named The Pizzaria, a deep dish pizza was first served. Many people claim to have first created the deep dish pizza. My theory is that a new employee made it to be creative, and was quickly fired. Others started making it secretly and later claimed credit. Later, The Pizzeria’s name was changed to Pizzeria Uno.
How is a deep dish pizza made? The bottom crust is a thick layer of dough made with olive oil and corn meal. Although I make a thinner crust, my homemade pizza has similar ingredients except my dough mixes two kinds of flour in a secret ratio. The crust is parbaked which means cooked about 80% and rapidly cooled. Then, a sauce with meats and/or vegetables is placed on top of cheese instead of the other way around. The final step is cooking the pizza.
At Wrigley Field, a fan can find a deep dish pizza at Giordano’s Pizza. Deep dish pizza is the food of the series!