Arizona (68-91) at Chicago (82-76)

Showers Currently: Chicago, IL, US
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Fri Oct 2, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Despite having secured a third-straight winning season, the Chicago Cubs will likely consider 2009 a disappointment. The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly will.

Playoff opponents two years ago, the clubs open their final series of the season Friday at Wrigley Field.

In 2007, Arizona celebrated a three-game sweep on Chicago’s North Side to win the NL division series.

While the Cubs were swept again in the NLDS last season - this time by Los Angeles - the Diamondbacks (68-91) will miss the postseason for a second straight year while losing 90 games for the first time since going 51-111 in 2004.

Chicago’s faint playoff hopes officially ended this week after various injuries and sub-par seasons by Alfonso Soriano(notes), Geovany Soto(notes) and Milton Bradley(notes) plagued a struggling lineup that ultimately derailed a team that was a preseason favorite to win its third straight NL Central title.

While Chicago (82-76) is 17-12 in September, it will try to avoid a third straight loss after being outscored 12-2 in dropping both ends of a doubleheader to lowly Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates was called in the fourth inning due to rain and will not be made up.

“Two runs in two games, unless you pitch two shutouts, you’re not going to win too many baseball games,” manager Lou Piniella told the Cubs’ official Web site.

Derrek Lee(notes), who was scratched from Thursday’s lineup for personal reasons, could return for this contest. Lee is batting .309 with 35 home runs and a career-high 111 RBIs. He’s hitting .386 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs in 23 games this month.

Arizona, meanwhile, tries to avoid a fourth consecutive loss after being swept at San Francisco. The Diamondbacks have lost eight of 10 away from home.

“It’s a big series in Chicago,” manager A.J. Hinch told the Diamondbacks’ official Web site. “Right now we’re going, or at least I am, into the offseason with a pretty sour taste in my mouth. Ending the season on a positive note is the goal and we have three games to prove it to ourselves.”

The Diamondbacks face Chicago’s Tom Gorzelanny(notes) (7-2, 4.70 ERA) for the first time this season.

The left-hander allowed one run in five innings of a 6-2 win at San Francisco on Saturday to improve to 4-1 with a 4.08 ERA in six starts since being acquired from Pittsburgh.

“(Coming to Chicago) was obviously great,” said Gorzelanny, who’s 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three career starts versus Arizona. “I’m just trying to do my part, whatever it is.”

Justin Upton(notes), who’s 3 for 6 with a double, triple and home run against Gorzelanny, drove in two runs in Arizona’s 7-3 loss to the Giants on Thursday.

Despite the Diamondbacks’ struggles at the plate in 2009, Upton is enjoying a career season, batting .304 with 26 homers and 84 RBIs.

Looking to build off his first victory since June 1, Billy Buckner(notes) (3-6, 6.59) takes the ball for the Diamondbacks in his first start against the Cubs.

The right-hander allowed four runs, three hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 7-4 win over San Diego on Sunday. Buckner was 0-5 with a 7.56 ERA in eight starts between victories.

Arizona took two of three against Chicago at Chase Field from April 27-29.

Related Articles

Starting Pitchers

B. Buckner MIL vs. T. Gorzelanny CLE
4-6 Record 7-3
6.40 ERA 5.55
64 K 47
29 BB 17
1.59 WHIP 1.32


Friday, Oct 2