This series begins after the trade deadline and will be a contest between one dismantled roster and one absurdly dismantled roster. Might this end up one of the least-watched series of 2021? See below for some sorrowful notes on players who have departed for more competitive climes and a lot of TBD in the daily matchups.
2021 Gameday Post
Just before kicking off the post-All Star portion of the season, the Cubs traded their starting left fielder for an advanced A-ball first base prospect. Pederson had not proven himself integral to what middling success the Cubs had managed so far this season, and the team could conceivably improve without him. However, the Cubs were rumored to be sellers going into the All-Star break and this move lends further support. They'll continue on, for now, with remaining core players like Javy, Rizzo, Bryant, and Contreras--but we'll be watching these games knowing any of those players could be making their last appearances in Cubs blue.
The current Cubs will be taking up bat and glove against D-Backs club with the worst record in the majors. Arizona enters the series second to last in the majors wRC+ and dead last in pitching WAR with a shocking 1.0 in fWAR--a team 5.48 ERA in the DH-less league will do that. Still, things won't necessarily be easygoing for the Cubs. See below for my best guess at pitching matchups. [Edit: my guesses were wrong.]
The Cubs finished their 10-game road trip by losing nine in a row, including sweeps to two teams that now lead them in the division, the Reds and the Brewers. Despite having the wind thoroughly taken out of their sails, they somehow return to home territory for seven games before the All Star break. They begin with a four-game series against the Phillies, the first time these two teams have matched up in 2021. See below for pitching matchups.
The Cubs lost six straight, including a sweep to the Brewers, to drop to 42-39, good for second place in the division and 6.5 back of said Milwaukee club. They have three games remaining on the road trip and ten games total before the All-Star Break. Six of those remaining ten games will be against NL Central teams currently trailing the Cubs, starting off with a 3-game set in Cincinnati and concluding with a 3-game home series against the Cards. See below for the pitching matchups over the holiday weekend.
The Cubs started off their road-trip with an especially odd no-no but have followed up with three losses. They are now three games back in the division with a three-game set with the first-place Brewers that will put them at the season's midpoint. A sweep in either direction could determine the Cubs' approach to the trade deadline. The Brewers will have an advantage in that they have their top three starting pitchers going--possibly the best top three startes in the majors right now. See below for the pitching matchups.
The Cubs (41-33) have won four out of their last ten and fallen a half game behind the Brewers for the division lead. The'll spend their next ten games on the road, and they'll begin with a tough four-game assignment against the second in the NL West Dodgers (44-29). See below for the pitching matchups.