|Albert Almora - CF||A.J. Pollock - CF|
|Kris Bryant - LF||Eduardo Escobar - 3B|
|Anthony Rizzo - 1B||David Peralta - LF|
|Javier Baez - 2B||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Ben Zobrist - RF||Daniel Descalso - 2B|
|Willson Contreras - C||Steven Souza - RF|
|David Bote - 3B||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|Kyle Hendricks - RHP||Alex Avila - C|
|Addison Russell - SS||Patrick Corbin - LHP|
Let’s begin with your scoreboard watching guide for tonight. Several big series of National League baseball games get under way around the country this evening, with six of the eight teams with playoff odds > 1% facing off against each other. As well as the Cubs and the D-backs, the Rockies play against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and the Cardinals are in Atlanta, taking on the Braves. Atlanta could potentially become the first in the NL to clinch their division with a sweep, but results in all three of those series could end up being very significant in the participants’ futures. Elsewhere, the Brewers are hosting the Reds, and the Phillies are visited in Philadelphia by the Mets.
This uncertainty is in sharp contrast to the American League, where the playoff field is all but set. The A’s and Yankees are virtually certain to face off in the wild-card game, with the winner taking on the Red Sox. Meanwhile, the Indians, who have already clinched the Central Division crown, will take on the Astros in the other Division Series. Related note: damn, the AL Central is just terrible this year outside Cleveland. The second-placed team there are the 68-81 Twins, with a run differential of -78, both of which would rank them 13th in the American League. Meanwhile the Orioles are on pace for 115 losses, the most in the majors since the 2003 Tigers went 43-119.
Back at Chase Field, Patrick Corbin starts for the D-backs. He has only two losses over his last 15 starts, with an ERA in that time of 2.60. He has a remarkably good K:BB of 115:13 over those outings, which covers 93 innings. He has already piled up a total of 230 K’s, which is the most by any D-backs pitcher since Randy Johnson struck out 290 in 2004. Corbin’s tally for the season has only been matched by Johnson and Curt Schilling in franchise history, though it’s not likely Patrick will move up the single-season list any further. He could end up with 250 strikeouts, however, a mark reached by only six NL pitchers since 2004 (Scherzer x4, Lincecum x2, Kershaw, Fernandez, DeGrom and Bumgarner).