|Cubs' Chatwood ready for first start vs. D-backs|
The Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks will meet in the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Arizona has won five of its past six games, including a dominant 6-0 victory over the Cubs on Saturday to even the series at one game apiece. The Diamondbacks have allowed two runs or fewer in three of their past four contests.
Meanwhile, Chicago has won four of its past five games and six of its past eight after a difficult start to the season. The Cubs scored four-plus runs in six straight games before they were shut out by Diamondbacks pitchers Zack Greinke and Taylor Clarke on Saturday.
Cubs right-hander Tyler Chatwood (0-0, 6.00 ERA) is scheduled to make his first start of the season in the series finale. He has given up four runs in six innings of relief this season but is looking for a positive performance to help change the narrative on his ugly tenure in Chicago.
Last season, Chatwood went 4-6 with a 5.30 ERA in 24 games (20 starts) and frequently struggled with his command. He issued a league-leading 95 walks to go along with 85 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings.
The 29-year-old has five walks and six strikeouts this season, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he would be able to pitch deep into a game.
"More than you think," Maddon told reporters when asked about Chatwood's potential workload. "We had him throw a lot in the bullpen in Miami the other day. He really believes he can throw 75-plus pitches, which I don't doubt.
"It's just a matter how tough the outs are, if the outs are tough. If he has to work hard, it could be different. If he keeps throwing like he has been throwing, it's reasonable to expect at least 80 pitches. We'll just watch it and let it go, and he'll let us know just by observation."
The Diamondbacks will counter with left-hander Robbie Ray (0-1, 4.64 ERA), who is seeking his first win in his fifth start of the season. Ray has a 35-39 record with a 4.06 ERA in 120 career appearances (117 starts) with the Detroit Tigers and Arizona.
In four career starts against the Cubs, Ray is 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA. He has 12 walks and 25 strikeouts in 24 innings.
Alternatively, Chatwood is 5-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) against the Diamondbacks throughout his career. He spent six seasons in the same division as Arizona when he pitched for the Colorado Rockies. He joined the Cubs in 2018 and has posted a 5.33 ERA since that time.
David Peralta will carry a 10-game hitting streak into the contest. He is hitting .352 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.
Soon, Blake Swihart will give Peralta and several of his teammates a break. The Diamondbacks acquired Swihart from the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, but he is not expected to join Arizona until Monday.
"We've had a nice little rotation in center field, but we have to watch out for the number of games played for (Peralta) and Adam (Jones)," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "I think this creates a little bit of an opportunity to get Blake on the field and get those guys some rest when it's needed."
--Field Level Media