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Preview #108: Arizona Diamondbacks @ Chicago Cubs

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Feeling a great deal happier writing this one, as Arizona has a solid chance to take the series.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Lineups

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS CHICAGO CUBS
Gregor Blanco - LF Jon Jay - CF
Adam Rosales - SS Kris Bryant - 3B
A.J. Pollock - CF Anthony Rizzo - 1B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Willson Contreras - C
J.D. Martinez - RF Kyle Schwarber - LF
Brandon Drury - 2B Ian Happ - 2B
Jake Lamb - 3B Jason Heyward - RF
Jeff Mathis - C Javier Baez - SS
Zack Greinke - RHP Jose Quintana - LHP

After the first two games, our Fangraphs playoff odds have increased from 87.1% to 88.0%. A small uptick, yes - but when you’re playing a road series against a division leader, who have close to the best second-half record in baseball, then even that is cause for satisfaction. If we can simply hold steady in the tough series, Arizona should then be able to make progress in the remaining weaker portions of the schedule, e.g. winning the upcoming series against San Francisco. But it helps that the team chasing us and the Rockies are mostly in the NL Central. Hopefully, the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates will slit each others’ throats and leave us with a wild-card game at Chase.

A win today would be icing on the cake, I think - but with this match-up, I think we’ve got a decent shot, even though Greinke hasn’t beaten the Cubs since 2013. Zack is 5-0 over his last six starts, with a 2.08 ERA, and we took Quintana to the wood-shed when we saw him at Chase (as a White Sox pitcher) earlier in the season. He allowed eight runs in just 4.1 innings on May 24, though did have a good K:BB ratio of 7:0, so was BABIP-unlucky. He also lost his other outing against the Diamondbacks, although that was back in 2014.

Be nice if the offense helped out today. Over the first six games of the road-trip, they’ve managed only a total of 20 runs, getting past four only once, in Greinke’s last start against the Cardinals. Tuesday night’s blowout took care of the run differential issue on this trip: the D-backs have now gone 3-3, while scoring 20 and conceding 21. You can only run from the differential deities for so long before they notice. I think this will likely be a tight game, but I’d be very happy for the Diamondbacks to edge it, and potentially push those playoff odds up into the the nineties.