Virtually the only thing to go wrong for the Chicago Cubs' rotation during a lengthy homestand is Jason Hammel's hamstring.
The right-hander will try to show that he's healthy while leading the Cubs to another win Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Cubs' starters, sporting an MLB-best 2.33 ERA, have posted a 0.98 mark and 0.80 WHIP through eight of their 10 consecutive home games. John Lackey went 6 2/3 innings in a 6-0 win in Friday's opener against the Diamondbacks and gave Chicago five starters with sub-3.00 ERAs.
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"Every day, they come in and they give us a chance to win," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. "They give us a chance to go out there and hit and not put pressure on ourselves. They don't get enough credit, but it's a good thing. Let them just keep doing their thing."
Chicago (38-15) scored five runs in the eighth while improving to 7-1 on its stay at Wrigley Field and 9-1 in its last 10 overall. Addison Russell and Javier Baez hit two-run doubles.
Hammel (6-1, 2.09 ERA) has pitched just two innings during the homestand after being forced to leave a 2-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. The bullpen picked him up by tossing seven perfect innings.
"They made the right move. We're all stubborn when we're out there. We want to compete. The end game is staying healthy, and it doesn't do any good to push it out there," Hammel told MLB's official website.
Hammel yielded one run in six innings in his season debut April 8 in Arizona and got a no-decision in a 3-2 loss. That is the only win for the Diamondbacks (24-33) in five games against the Cubs this season.
Arizona has lost four straight at Wrigley, one shy of tying its longest skid there, and has dropped eight of 11 overall.
The Diamondbacks have also lost five of six on the road and could use a better performance from Edwin Escobar (0-1, 18.90) while attempting to break out of that funk. The left-hander was charged with eight runs and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings in his first MLB start and third appearance Monday, an 8-3 loss to Houston.
Arizona has called upon Escobar with Shelby Miller and Rubby De La Rosa on the disabled list.
"We get four days of work before he starts again. We'll see what we can do to tighten it up a little bit," manager Chip Hale said. "I think he's going to help us, but it was a tough (start)."
Escobar will pitch against the Cubs for the first time, and Ben Zobrist is their only hitter to have faced him, doubling in his lone at-bat.
Hammel, 2-0 with a 1.83 ERA in four home starts this season, is 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in his last four overall matchups against Arizona. Paul Goldschmidt, a career .361 hitter versus Chicago, is 4 for 11 with a home run and a double against him.
Jean Segura is 3 for 17 versus Hammel but went 2 for 3 with a double in April.