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PHOENIX — The Cubs have played some of their best baseball
here in crunch time http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-jayson-werth-jersey ,
a stretch that has taken a big bite out of the Diamondbacks‘ playoff chances.The
Cubs will enter Day 28 of a string of 30 straight days in which games were
scheduled (if not necessarily played) with the first of a three-game series at
Arizona on Monday.The sustained activity has not seemed to bother them. They are
having a little fun with it, in fact.Article continues below ...Anthony Rizzo
wore his uniform on the plane for a makeup game in Washington on Thursday, which
would have been an off day but for the persistent rain that forced two
postponements the previous weekend. The Cubs won.Ben Zobrist, who is third in
the NL in hitting, rode his bicycle in uniform to Wrigley Field on Sunday, a 2-1
loss to Cincinnati.Still, the Cubs have won three of their last four games and
14 of their last 18 series as they send right-hander Kyle Hendricks (11-11) out
to face Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin (11-5) in the first game of the
series.The Diamondbacks have not had as much success in the make-or-break
portion of their season. They have played 11 straight games against division
leaders and will have at least two more, inasmuch as the Cubs (87-62) enter with
a 2 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central.The Diamondbacks lost three
of four at home to Atlanta last weekend before going 2-5 on a road trip to
Colorado and Houston, dropping them 4 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading
Rockies with 12 games remaining.It has been a drastic reversal for an Arizona
team that led or was tied for the NL West lead for 125 days this season and was
still in first place on Sept. 1 before a third straight final at-bat loss in a
four-game series to the Dodgers in Los Angeles.The Diamondbacks (78-72) had not
been fewer than seven games above .500 since June 10 before their 5-4 loss at
Houston on Sunday.The Dodgers and Rockies begin a three-game series in Los
Angeles on Monday.“We can’t get caught scoreboard watching,” Arizona reliever
Brad Ziegler said. “We have to win our games. If we win our games, things will
take care of themselves.”The Diamondbacks’ bullpen, which was so efficient in
the first five months Bryce
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, has given up 43 runs in its last 50 innings, and
manager Torey Lovullo has used right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano in the last two
save situations instead of normal closer Brad Boxberger. Arizona also took a hit
to its starting rotation when Clay Buchholz was shut down for the rest of the
season because of elbow soreness he felt while warming up for scheduled start
Thursday in Colorado.The Cubs have made their bullpen work even without closers
Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop. Morrow, who has 22 saves, has been on the
disabled list since mid-July with a bone bruise. He threw a simulated game
Saturday and could be activated for the Arizona series, manager Joe Madden
said.Strop, who had 13 saves after taking over for Morrow, suffered a
season-ending left hamstring injury while attempting to beat out a double play
grounder in Washington on Tuesday.Since, the Cubs have gotten saves from Randy
Rosario, Jorge De La Rosa and Steve Cishek. Both Rosario and De La Rosa had the
first of their careers. Their last five saves have been from five different
pitchers, including Jesse Chavez and Strop, the first time the Cubs have done
that since 1991.“Everyone knows it’s the ninth inning,” said Cishek Stephen
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, who earned the save in Saturday’s 1-0 victory
over Cincinnati as the third pitcher in the ninth inning.“We just try to treat
it like any other inning.”Corbin, who has a 3.05 ERA, is on the way to a career
year, even if the victory totals don’t show it. He is third in the league in
strikeouts (230), fourth in WHIP (1.03), tied for sixth in the league in quality
starts (18) and seventh in ERA. His ratio of strikeouts to walks is 5.48:1,
third in the league.Corbin has won five of his last six decisions and has made
seven quality starts in his last eight, with 64 strikeouts against five walks in
that span. He is 5-1 with a 3.68 ERA in seven career appearances, six starts,
against the Cubs and beat the Cubs in his first start after the All-Star game,
giving up six hits and one run in seven innings with nine strikeouts and no
walks. He is 7-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 15 home starts this season.Hendricks, who
has a 3.71 ERA http://www.nationalsfanproshop.com/authentic-gio-gonzalez-jersey ,
has won five of his seven decisions since a 5-1 loss to Arizona on July 24. He
has given up a career-high 21 homers this season but has kept the ball in
ballpark much better during his recent successful stretch, giving up only three
homers in 54 2/3 innings and only one in his last 44 innings.Hendricks has faced
Arizona only three times, going 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA. He won his only previous
start at Chase Field, in 2016, when he led the league in ERA and finished third
in the NL Cy Young voting. A look at what’s happening around the majors
today:SPRINGTIMEAstros leadoff man George Springer has a chance to tie the
postseason record for most consecutive games with a home run. Springer connected
for the fifth game in a row Friday as Houston beat Cleveland 7-2 to open their
AL Division Series.Springer homered in the final four games of the World Series
last year, earning the MVP award and powering Houston to its first championship.
He’ll next face Carlos Carrasco of the Indians in Game 2 at Minute Maid
Park.Daniel Murphy set the big league mark by homering in six straight
postseason games for the Mets in 2015. Springer’s five in a row is tied for
second with Carlos Beltran, who did it with the Astros in 2004.PRICE CHECKDavid
Price (16-7, 3.58 ERA) pitches against Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.75) and the
rival Yankees as Boston tries to take a 2-0 lead in their AL Division Series at
Fenway Park. Price has a 4.90 ERA in 42 career appearances (41 starts) vs. the
Yankees and has struggled badly against them since signing a $217 million,
seven-year contract with the Red Sox before the 2016 season. He was 0-3 with a
10.34 ERA in four starts versus New York this year, but 9-2 with a 2.98 ERA at
Fenway overall.The wild-card Yankees could be without center fielder Aaron
Hicks, who left the series opener with tightness in his right hamstring Friday
night and was replaced by Brett Gardner. Hicks tweaked the same hamstring in
late September and missed three games before returning to the lineup.“He’ll get
examined further tomorrow Anthony
Rendon Jersey
, and have an MRI and everything,” manager Aaron
Boone said. “He felt like it might have been cramping, so we’ll just have to
see.”ROCKY RETURNNolan Arenado and the Colorado Rockies get a day to rest and
regroup after falling into an 0-2 deficit at Milwaukee. Game 3 of their NL
Division Series is Sunday at Coors Field, with the Brewers trying to win their
11th straight overall and finish off a sweep.Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and
the rest of the big-hitting Rockies managed a total of just two runs and 10 hits
in the two losses at Miller Park.COMING UP EMPTYFreddie Freeman and his Baby
Braves teammates also hope a return home will wake up their bats. Atlanta has
been outscored 9-0 by the Dodgers in losing the first two games of their NL
Division Series. “You can’t blame any one person,” manager Brian Snitker said.
“I mean, it’s just our whole lineup is having a hard time.” Los Angeles can
sweep the best-of-five set in Game 3 on Sunday night in Atlanta.
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