After winning their second road series in their fifth try of the season, the Chicago Cubs will try to make it two in a row when they open a three-game set Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.
Left-hander Drew Smyly (1-3, 3.04 ERA), who the Diamondbacks roughed up last year in his only career start against Arizona, will get the start for the Cubs.
In an April start with the Atlanta Braves, Smyly gave up six runs (five earned) in four innings of a 7-0 defeat. He also earned a win in relief in September when he allowed one run and four hits in 3 1/3 innings in a 6-1 victory.
The Diamondbacks, who are 11-4 over their last 15 games, will counter with veteran right-hander Zach Davies (1-1, 3.34). Davies will be making his 20th career start against the Cubs, carrying a 7-7 record and 3.61 ERA.
Chicago had lost five in a row heading into their six-game western road trip. They took two of three in San Diego, including a 7-5 victory on Wednesday in the rubber game of the series.
First baseman Alfonso Rivas, who grew up in nearby Chula Vista, Calif., broke a 5-5 tie with a two-run, bases-loaded single to drive in what proved to be the game-winning runs in the eighth inning.
“He’s got such a calm demeanor,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “That’s why he looks so smooth at first and in the box. There’s not a lot to his swing. He just tries to put the barrel on the ball, and he’s done a nice job.”
Rivas, who was playing in just his 34th major league game Wednesday, homered in Tuesday’s contest with his parents and family in the stands.
“They don’t get to watch me play much in person,” the 25-year-old Rivas said. “So having them in the stands, it’s awesome. It was a great experience.”
Chicago’s Nico Hoerner “might miss a couple days,” Ross said, after the shortstop had to leave Wednesday’s game in the second inning with a right ankle sprain. Hoerner collided with second base umpire Dan Iassogna in short right-center field while running to relay position on Jurickson Profar’s triple to deep center an inning earlier.
“In the shift, people sometimes are in different places than we’re used to,” Hoerner said. “I was watching the ball, and the umpire was. I was on the ground before I realized what happened. … We’re both just doing our jobs, and weird things happen sometimes.”
Arizona, which tied Baltimore for the worst record in baseball last season (52-110), has been one of the surprise teams so far in 2022 with a 17-15 record, including winning seven of its last nine. Manager Torey Lovullo picked up his 354th win with a 9-3 victory over Miami on Tuesday, which moved him past Kirk Gibson to become the winningest manager in team history.
“It’s awesome; it’s a good feeling,” Lovullo said. “I’m humbled. I’m honored. The win total really isn’t about just me, it’s about an entire organization.”
Arizona comes in off a 11-3 loss to Miami on Wednesday. The Diamondbacks had rallied to tie it, 3-3, on a two-run homer by Jordan Luplow in the bottom of the eighth before the Marlins answered with an eight-run ninth that included eight consecutive two-out hits against relievers Mark Melancon and J.B. Wendelken.
–Field Level Media