A pair of young first basemen drew a lot of attention on losing teams before the All-Start break and proved their first halves were no fluke in their first game back. After combining for three homers in the opener, Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo look to carry their power-hitting stroke into Saturday when the Arizona Diamondbacks continue their three-game home set with the Chicago Cubs. Goldschmidt hit his 17th home run to spark a three-run rally in sixth inning as Arizona downed Chicago.
The 26-year-old two-time All-Star has reached base safely in 33 of his last 34 contests, but was overshadowed Friday by the 24-year-old Rizzo, who posted his sixth career two-homer game to move into a tie with the Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton for the National League lead with 22. The first-time All-Star is one homer shy of matching his career high even though the Cubs (40-55) fell behind the Diamondbacks (41-56) for the second-worst record in the NL with their third straight loss. Chicago, which has dropped nine of 11, is 3-9 in its last 12 games in Arizona.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FSN Arizona
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Travis Wood (7-8, 4.96 ERA) vs. Diamondbacks LH Wade Miley (5-6, 4.18)
Wood continued to struggle in Sunday's 10-7 setback against the Atlanta Braves, dropping his third straight decision after matching a season high by surrendering seven runs over six innings. The 2013 All-Star handed out three more free passes - the fifth time in six outings he has walked at least that many - to increase his season total to 48 (the fifth-highest mark in the NL). Wood posted his first victory of the season after holding the Diamondbacks to one run in seven frames on April 21, but is only 2-4 with a 5.29 ERA in six all-time outings against Arizona.
After going 3-6 with a 4.78 ERA in 17 starts through the end of June, Miley improved to 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA in three July outings after tossing seven scoreless frames in a 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants last Saturday. The 27-year-old, who hasn't pitched at home since June 24, has struck out 22 batters over his last three outings and is unbeaten over his last seven turns. Despite permitting five runs (three earned) in a no-decision versus the Cubs on April 23, Miley is 2-1 with a 3.90 ERA in four all-time starts against Chicago.
1. Goldschmidt is a career .359 hitter against Chicago - his highest mark against any NL opponent.
2. The Cubs are hitting .385 with runners in scoring position and averaging 5.6 runs over their last five games, but are only 2-3 over that span.
3. Diamondbacks LF David Peralta went 2-for-4 in the opener and is batting .404 over his last 13 contests.
PREDICTION: Diamondbacks 5, Cubs 2