|Diamondbacks, Cubs kick off series|
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have never been picky about who takes on a starring role as they pursue their third straight National League Central Division title.
So after the Cubs picked up contributions from a variety of sources to close out a series victory as they prepare to welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks starting Monday, the manner in which the Cubs continue to find ways to win games only builds more confidence as the second half of the season gets rolling.
"Today was just another perfect example of how everyone contributes," left fielder Kyle Schwarber told reporters Sunday after his solo home run snapped a 2-2 tie en route to a 7-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. "Everyone is going to have their number called -- so be ready."
Luke Farrell will be the next to have his called.
After the Cubs won three of five weekend games against the Cardinals, Farrell will make a spot start on Monday to kick off the series against Arizona.
Farrell (3-3, 3.86 ERA) will make his second start of the season and just the third of his career. Farrell, who will start for the first time in his career against the Diamondbacks, took the loss in his only start this season when he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings on June 23 against the Cincinnati Reds.
As Farrell fills in while the Cubs patiently wait for Yu Darvish to get healthy enough to return to the starting rotation, team president Theo Epstein told reporters Sunday that he will remain on the lookout for additional bullpen options as the trade deadline approaches. The Cubs picked up Jesse Chavez ahead of the weekend series against the Cardinals and Chavez was impressive in the two appearances he made.
However, Epstein said his work isn't done attempting to solidify the Cubs' pitching.
"You're always looking to upgrade this time of year when you have a competitive team," Epstein told reporters, according to the Cubs' official website. "No matter how your 'pen has pitched, there's always a desire to look around and see if you can tweak and improve it. You're always cognizant of the fact you can always address it after July 31."
The Diamondbacks will arrive at Wrigley Field after avoiding being swept by the Colorado Rockies on Sunday with a 6-1 victory. The win snapped Arizona's four-game losing streak just in time to face the Cubs, who have won six of their last eight games.
Despite losing two of three weekend games, the Diamondbacks managed to score 21 runs as manager Torey Lovullo tinkered with his lineup in order to keep players fresh and avoid becoming complacent coming out of the All-Star break.
"My mindset is this: that we had four days off (over the break) and it's hard for players when they get in a routine to take days off," Lovullo told reporters, according to the Arizona Republic. "So I want to get everyone back in there as quickly as possible and get them back into the baseball grind and get their minds right, get wrapped around playing."
Patrick Corbin (6-4, 3.24) will take the mound for Arizona in search of his first win since June 1. He has no-decisions in five of his last seven outings and is coming off a loss to the Atlanta Braves on July 15, when he allowed four runs in six innings. Corbin is 4-1 with a 4.25 ERA in six career outings (five starts) against the Cubs.