Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Joe Saunders (0-0, 0.00) Chicago - Randy Wells (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - Poor weather led to the Arizona Diamondbacks getting an unexpected day off on Sunday. Things certainly were stormy for them against the Chicago Cubs last season.
Joe Saunders makes a belated season debut this afternoon when the Diamondbacks look to snap a six-game slide to the Cubs in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley Field.
Arizona split its first two games of the season with hosting Colorado over the weekend, winning Friday's opener in extra innings before losing a 3-1 game on Saturday. Sunday's game was then postponed due to a mix of rain and snow.
Saunders was slated to pitch on Sunday, but will go today instead. The 29- year-old went 3-7 with a 4.25 earned run average in 13 starts for Arizona last year after being acquired from the Angels last July.
The left-hander struggled to a 12.46 ERA this spring and was also drilled for eight runs, five of those earned, over just 2 2/3 innings of a loss versus the Cubs on June 20 while with the Angels. That was the first time Saunders had ever faced the Cubs and he would like to get some revenge this afternoon and get his season off on the right foot.
"Even as a hitter, you want to get off to a good start, you don't want to go 0-for and as a pitcher you don't want to give up any early runs," Saunders told Arizona's website. "You want to get off to a good start, and that's what I'm going to try to do."
Saunders may not have shortstop Stephen Drew behind him. Drew missed Arizona's first two games with a strained lower abdominal and is doubtful for today. The Diamondbacks could use his bat as they lost their final six games versus Chicago a season ago.
Arizona actually got the season series off to a powerful start with a 13-5 win at Wrigley Field on April 29, but was outscored 28-15 over the final three contests of the four-game series. Chicago then swept a three-game set in July at Arizona.
The Cubs will be aiming for a rebound effort after Sunday's 5-4 setback to the Pirates in the rubber match of a three-game set. Closer Carlos Marmol got the loss after yielding a two-run infield single to Pedro Alvarez in the top of the ninth.
Matt Garza made his Chicago debut and struck out a career-high 12 batters over seven innings without a loss. Alfonso Soriano contributed a solo homer and Carlos Pena had a two-run double.
"I don't want to let the end result take away from the good things," said Pena, who has two hits in eight at-bats after batting just .196 with the Rays last year.
A solid spring kept Randy Wells in Chicago's rotation and he will seek to carry that momentum into this start.
Wells won 12 games with a 3.05 ERA in 27 starts in 2009, but slipped to 8-14 with a 4.26 ERA in 32 starts a season ago. He looks to have righted the ship, posting a 2.10 ERA in six games this spring while striking out 23 over 25 2/3 innings.
The 28-year-old righty has won both of his career starts versus the Diamondbacks, pitching to a 3.46 ERA with 18 strikeouts over 13 innings.
For more on the Diamondbacks, visit AZ Snakepit.