The Chicago Cubs are the only team in baseball to lose each series this season. They're also the only one without back-to-back victories.
Chicago is not yet in a position to clinch a series win, but a victory Tuesday night at Wrigley Field over the Arizona Diamondbacks would be a step in the right direction by securing at least a split in the four-game set while also taking care of the latter.The Cubs (6-12) have lost 11 straight series since taking two of three in Cincinnati from Sept. 9-11 and are an NL-worst 10-25 in that time. The first two games of that series was also the last time they won consecutive games.The Diamondbacks (5-17), losers of nine of 10, have the worst record in baseball in large part because of their starting pitching.After Bronson Arroyo allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings of Monday's 5-1 loss, Arizona's starters have an MLB-worst 7.46 ERA. Cubs starter Travis Wood rubbed it in with a three-run homer and an RBI double."He was a one-man wrecking crew," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said.Brandon McCarthy will try to begin correcting things for the Arizona staff and himself when he opposes Jason Hammel.McCarthy (0-3, 7.11 ERA) has lost three straight starts to fall to 0-6 over the last two Aprils with a 7.38 ERA. He allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the New York Mets, and that was his first start of the year in which he allowed less than five runs."You get worn down mentally when you're not performing well by yourself, and when the whole team is doing it and everybody around you is in that same boat, the team isn't winning and really nothing positive is happening, you don't have anything to hang onto," McCarthy told the team's official website."It does kind of carry over and it's an extreme mental battle to just try and minimize things as much as we can and focus on the smallest things that we can control, which is what we're all doing. Hopefully it turns itself soon."He hasn't faced the Cubs since 2006 and is 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in one start and one relief appearance.Hammel (2-1, 3.05) has been impressive in his first three outings with the Cubs, holding opponents to a .143 batting average while allowing no more than five hits in a start. He suffered his first loss Wednesday, though he held the New York Yankees to three runs in seven innings of a 3-0 defeat."Hammy kept us in the ballgame," Renteria told the team's official website. "He struggled a little bit with some command, I think, but all in all, (he) was trying to attack the zone and got us through seven."Hammel is 2/3 with a 4.13 ERA in eight starts against Arizona.The Diamondbacks, though, haven't been very imposing at the plate lately with 14 runs and a .188 batting average in six games.Three of their seven hits Monday came from first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who is a career .375 hitter against the Cubs. Left fielder Mark Trumbo homered for the fourth time in his last four games against Chicago.Cubs catcher Welington Castillo is batting .353 in his last nine games after starting 2 for 21.Arizona center fielder A.J. Pollock was out of the lineup Monday with a sore neck and is day to day.
Jason Hammel has a .061 batting average against in at-bats to end after he gets ahead in the count 0-1 this season, the lowest average against among qualified pitchers. Fifty-four percent of the Diamondbacks plate appearances have gone to 0-1, the highest percentage in the league.