- The Diamondbacks and Cubs meet in Game 2 of a four-game set on Saturday afternoon
- Arizona sends Merrill Kelly to the bump, while Chicago hands Alec Mills the ball
- Get the odds, analysis, and prediction below
The Arizona Diamondbacks (30-69, 11-39 away) and Chicago Cubs (48-50, 29-17 home) meet on Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field, with first pitch scheduled for 2:20 pm EST.
The Cubbies rolled to a convincing 8-3 win in the series opener on Friday thanks to a two-homer day from Robinson Chirinos, while Javier Baez also clubbed a three-run bomb. Zach Davies was solid on the mound for Chi-Town, tossing 5.1 innings of two-run baseball en route to collecting the win.
Diamondbacks vs Cubs Odds
Odds as of July 23rd at DraftKings.
The D-backs have been struggling immensely this season and their pitching has been a huge reason why. However, despite their awful 5.29 team ERA which is 29th in the bigs, Merrill Kelly, who gets the ball on Saturday, has been one of their more reliable starters.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 18, 2021
Kelly has made a team-high 20 starts this season while going 6-7 with a 4.46 ERA. Sure, the numbers don’t jump off the page, but he’s surrendered just 24 walks in 117 innings of work while striking out 99. Last time out, the 32-year-old actually faced the Cubs as well, tossing eight innings and giving up four earned. In two starts against Chicago, Kelly has a 5.40 ERA. Not much to go off of, but last week’s outing was very respectable.
Kelly vs Mills
Alec Mills has played a variety of different roles this season but since coming off the IL in early June, he’s been a regular in the starting rotation. The right-hander has done relatively well too, giving up 10 earned runs in six starts since June 15th.
As a starter last season, Alec Mills' big issue was left-handed hitters. But look at the difference a year (and an improved slider + consistent mechanics) makes.
2020 (11 starts): 6.06 ERA; .275/.338/.551 (.374 wOBA)
2021 (7 starts): 3.21 ERA; .216/.310/.275 (.271 wOBA)
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) July 22, 2021
Pitching hasn’t been a strong suit for Chicago either in 2021, but Mills has basically risen to the occasion in any way David Ross has needed. While he did take the loss in his last outing against the Cardinals, he only surrender one earned run. The Cubs’ four errors ultimately hurt any chance at Mills getting the win. Only two hitters in the Diamondbacks lineup have actually faced the 29-year-old. In fact, Mills has only pitched two innings against Arizona in his MLB career.
Batting Average vs Starting Pitchers
|Diamondbacks Batters||Batting Average vs Mills||Cubs Batters||Batting Average vs Kelly|
|Nick Ahmed||.000||Javier Baez||.286|
|Kole Calhoun||.000||Kris Bryant||.500|
|Eduardo Escobar||.000||Robinson Chirinos||.333|
|Stuart Fairchild||.000||Willson Contreras||.500|
|Bryan Holaday||.000||Ian Happ||.000|
|David Peralta||.000||Jason Heyward||.200|
|Josh Reddick||.000||Nico Hoerner||.000|
|Josh Rojas||.000||Jake Marisnick||.000|
|Josh VanMeter||.250||Anthony Rizzo||.200|
|Christian Walker||.000||Patrick Wisdom||.333|
The Arizona offense hasn’t fared much better than their pitching. They’re in the bottom 10 of the big leagues in every major offensive category. One of the only bright spots in the lineup has been Eduardo Escobar, who’s gone deep 22 times this season.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DINGER FOR EDUARDO ESCOBAR pic.twitter.com/xBFi8dpBpj
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken2) July 20, 2021
However, prior to Friday’s loss, the Diamondbacks did enjoy a four-game winning streak. It’s important to note they were up against one of the worst teams in the major leagues though in the Pittsburgh Pirates.
For the amount of talent the Cubbies have on their roster, there’s really no excuse for how poor they’ve been at the plate. But, Friday’s win could be a step in the right direction. Chicago strung together eight hits including three long balls via Baez and Chirinos. The Cubs play substantially better at Wrigley and actually thrive when playing during the day. 57 of their homers this season have come during afternoon ball games, which is fourth-best in the MLB.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 23, 2021
The key for Chicago will be to get off to a fast start again. The Cubbies came out of the gates firing on Friday and knocked Zac Gallen out of the game in four innings. With Kelly coming off a solid performance against Chi-Town, they need to get to him early.
Diamondbacks vs Cubs Prediction
Arizona has been terrible whether they’re at home or on the road. While Kelly did enjoy some success last time out versus the Cubs, I do think David Ross’s squad will build off Friday and put some runs on the board here.
Also, Mills has been terrific against left-handed batters with a 3.21 ERA in seven starts. Coincidentally enough, there are six of them in this Diamondbacks lineup. Take Chicago on the Moneyline.
Pick: Chicago Cubs -150