The Chicago Cubs have yet to win a road series outside their own
city. A visit to the Arizona Diamondbacks doesn’t offer a promising
chance to end that drought.
The Diamondbacks will try to add to their recent success at
Chase Field during Friday night’s opener of a three-game
Chicago (24-45) managed to win its first road series of the
season earlier this week, taking the first two games of their
series on the South Side versus the White Sox before losing 7-0 in
“You just always try to win series back to back and keep winning
series, especially when you haven’t won a lot,” manager Dale Sveum
told the team’s website. “If you keep winning series, you can
gradually get back into this thing in some kind of fashion
Sveum’s club might have a difficult task in its next attempt to
earn more road wins as the Diamondbacks (34-35) have won nine of 11
They produced a combined 30 runs and 41 hits while taking two of
three over visiting Seattle earlier this week and ended that set by
winning a 14-10 slugfest. Ryan Roberts’ inside-the-park homer was
one of a team record-tying six for Arizona.
Justin Upton’s three-run shot was his first home run since May
23 and sixth this season after hitting a career-high 31 in
“We need him to be that guy,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “He’s
capable of being that guy. If he can turn it around, it’ll
certainly help where we’re headed.”
Upton and the Diamondbacks will try to keep things going against
Jeff Samardzija (5-5, 4.04 ERA), who will seek to avoid dropping a
career-worst third consecutive start.
The right-hander matched a personal high by giving up eight runs
over 3 2-3 innings in Minnesota on June 9 but had a better outing
Saturday against Boston. He gave up three runs and four hits over 5
1-3 innings but did not get any run support in a 4-3 defeat.
His counterpart in Friday’s game, Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44), is
also hoping to get some more support after suffering a tough-luck
defeat to his former team, the Los Angeles Angels, on Saturday. The
left-hander gave up two runs over six innings for the second
straight outing in that 2-0 loss.
“Joe pitched a great game for us, battled his tail off, and
really only made one mistake (a two-run homer to Mark Trumbo),”
While Samardzija is making his first start against Arizona,
Saunders is 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA in his two against the Cubs. He
gave up two runs and five hits over six innings during a 4-1 loss
at Wrigley Field on April 4, 2011.
Alfonso Soriano, who hit three homers in a four-game series last
year in Arizona, is batting .382 with 12 homers and 25 RBIs over
his last 16 games against the Diamondbacks. The 12 home runs are
his most versus any team over the last four seasons.
Miguel Montero hit .346 with two home runs in the seven games
against the Cubs last season. Roberts also hit a pair of homers in
the season series and is batting .353 over his last five