Thursday, April 28, 2011Posted: 2 p.m.
Cubs (10-13) at Diamondbacks (10-13)
Thursday: 8:40 p.m. on WGN
Friday: 8:40 p.m. on CSN
Saturday: 7:10 p.m. on CSN
Sunday: 3:10 p.m. on WGN
Thursday: Ryan Dempster (1-2, 7.63) vs. Barry Enright (0-2, 6.65)
Friday: Carlos Zambrano (2-1, 5.28) vs. Armando Gallaraga (3-1, 6.00)
Saturday: Matt Garza (0-3, 4.11) vs. Ian Kennedy (3-1, 4.02)
Sunday: Casey Coleman (1-1, 7.43) vs. Daniel Hudson (1-4, 5.64)
The Cubs lost both games against the Rockies this week, with the finale being rained out on Wednesday. In Chicago's last game - a 4-3 loss to Colorado on Tuesday - Alfonso Soriano hit his seventh homer of the season and Darwin Barney finished with two hits and a run scored in a losing effort.
The Diamondbacks took a series from the Phillies this week, winning two of three matchups in the desert. The one loss came in Wednesday's series finale, an 8-4 defeat in which Chris Young hit a pair of homers and Melvin Mora had two hits in defeat.
The Cubs won two of three home games against the Diamondbacks earlier this month, in their second series of the season. The pitching star was Randy Wells, who allowed one run in six innings in the series opener. Offensively, Soriano went 4-for-10 with two homers in the series.
Barney is hitting .353 over his last seven games. Jeff Baker is 8-for-16 with three RBIs in his last four games. Lefty Sean Marshall has allowed just one earned run in 11 innings this season.
StorylinesThe Cubs could use some consistency in their starting rotation. Unfortunately, Dempster is just 2-7 with a 6.24 ERA in 14 career starts vs. Arizona. ... The D-Backs' Gerardo Parra and Stephen Drew are a combined 9-for-16 lifetime against the Cubs' righty. ... Chicago has scored just three runs in each of its last three games, but Arizona pitcher Enright has struggled dating to last season, going 0-7 with a 7.40 ERA in his last nine starts. ... Geovany Soto has gone 2-for-20 in his last six games, dropping his average to .227.
Do you think Starlin Castro's long-term future is at shortstop?
Joe Maddon declared Monday as "Albert's game" a couple hours before first pitch.
He didn't even know how right he was at the time.
"Albert" is Albert Almora Jr., the Cubs' rookie centerfielder who hasn't gotten to play as much lately with Ian Happ's emergence over the last week.
But with a left-handed pitcher on the mound for the San Francisco Giants Monday night, Maddon wanted to get the right-handed hitting Almora in the lineup. There was also the added benefit of Almora providing the best defense in center with John Lackey — a flyball pitcher — on the mound for the Cubs.
It took only three batters for Almora's impact to be felt:
He was off on a dead sprint from the very second that ball was hit.
What makes the play even more amazing is two pitches prior, Addison Russell had the crowd buzzing with his own highlight-reel play:
If it weren't for Almora's play, Russell's effort might go down as the Cubs' defensive highlight of the season to date.
Of course, this isn't the only time we've seen Almora turn in a highlight-reel catch:
The Cubs swapped bullpen pitchers ahead of Monday night's series-opener with the visiting San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field.
Zac Rosscup was called up from Triple-A Iowa, with Dylan Floro heading back to Des Moines.
To make room for Rosscup on the team's 40-man roster, pitcher Jake Buchanan was designated for assignment.
The Cubs' oft-utilized relief corps ranks fourth in the National League in innings pitched, with 158.1 frames tossed by bullpen pitchers. That workload has made reinforcements from the minor leagues commonplace.
[CUBS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]
Floro pitched two innings in Sunday's win over the Milwaukee Brewers, yielding five runs in the ninth inning of what ended up a blowout 13-6 Cubs victory.
It was his second appearance of the season after his 4.1-inning outing in a May 9 loss at the Colorado Rockies.
Rosscup joins the Cubs for the first time since 2015. He made zero major or minor league appearances last season after posting a 4.39 ERA in 26.2 innings of work during the 2015 campaign.
This season with Iowa, Rosscup turned in a 3.45 ERA in 15.2 innings of work.