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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Padres Series Preview

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The Cubs begin a week of play in California.

The Padres model one of their at least five different 2016 uniform styles
The Padres model one of their at least five different 2016 uniform styles
Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Three months after the Cubs and Padres met at Wrigley Field earlier this year, the Padres have gone through a roster overhaul. Roy Thomasson of our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball updates us on all the changes to the Padres roster, which include adding a couple of recent former Cubs.

The Padres have (un)officially entered a full-on rebuild. After trading away James Shields, Fernando Rodney, Drew Pomeranz, Melvin Upton Jr., Andrew Cashner, and Matt Kemp, the remaining roster doesn't impose much fear, but there's still an interesting group on the field. As the organization is taking a hard look at next year's roster, they're giving playing time to a mix of guys you might not know much about. That's why I'm here! Here's a rundown of who we have, and what you might want to know about them:
  • Projected Starters: Edwin Jackson, Christian Friedrich, Paul Clemens, Jarred Cosart, Clayton Richard, Luis Perdomo. That's a six-man rotation, and only Luis Perdomo (Rule-5 draftee) was on the opening day roster. Jackson, Clemens, and former Cub Richard were signed off waivers mid-season. Cosart came to the Padres in the Cashner trade, and is more of a long-term project. Friedrich was a minor league FA signing. Can you tell that we're in a rebuild?
  • Bullpen: Kevin Quackenbush, Brandon Morrow, Jose Dominguez, Carlos Villanueva, Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter, Brandon Maurer. Hand and Buchter have been good-to-excellent all season, and Maurer has been nails since taking closing duties over for Rodney. The rest of the bullpen has been an inconsistent mess. Morrow is a bright spot, as he's finally made his way back to The Show after having his 2015 season cut short by a shoulder injury.
  • Offense: While much of the lineup consists of names unrecognized outside of Petco, this team has been putting runs up at a surprising rate. CF Travis Jankowski has emerged as a true leadoff hitter, getting on base any way he can and running amok on the basepaths. 1B Wil Myers has cooled off, but is still a dangerous hitter. Switch-hitting 3B Yangervis Solarte is enjoying his best season of his career with an OPS+ of 127. LF Alex Dickerson's huge Triple-A performance has carried through since his call-up in late June, hitting .276/.319/.504. 2B Ryan Schimpf is making a case for the starting 2B job in 2017 with his .881 OPS. RF Jabari Blash was another Rule 5 draftee, who posesses impressive power and a discerning eye, but has struggled to make consistent contact at the MLB level C Derek Norris is a former All-Star who has struggled at the plate all season. It seems that he hits the ball hard often, but always right at someone. SS Nick Noonan was a minor league free-agent signing who recently got called up due to the poor performance of benched veteran Alexei Ramirez. Other bench bats include: 1B Brett Wallace, C Christian Bethancourt, and IF Adam Rosales.
  • Defense: Jankowski and Myers have been outstanding for the Padres this year. Jankowski has elite speed, a quick first step, and takes excellent routes, which makes up for some of the limitations of Dickerson and Blash. You might see Bethancourt and Schimpf in the outfield as well, and while they've been adequate, they only make us yearn for a future outfield of Jankowski/Margot/Renfroe, but we'll have to wait until next year for that. Myers has shown Gold Glove caliber defense at first base, anchoring a solid group of steady but unspectacular infielders. Noonan's glove holds him up, while Schimpf and Solarte are both limited in range. Derek Norris has been steadily improving into one of the better defenders behind the plate, and understudy Bethancourt has been an improving work in progress as well.
Overall, it's pretty clear that while this team can hit enough to stay in games, but the pitching and defense has been sub-par. Don't be surprised to see some call-ups from the minors, as the El Paso Express has been logging plenty of travel rewards points lately. This is a team in transition, so we're getting extended looks at some promising youth and some veterans who are getting a second chance.

Fun fact

This fact is not so fun. Petco Park has not been kind to the Cubs. They are 19-24 there since the park opened in 2004. However, the Cubs did win two of three there in 2015.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jon Lester, LHP (13-4, 2.86 ERA, 1.074 WHIP, 3.76 FIP) vs. Edwin Jackson, RHP (3-3, 5.36 ERA, 1.511 WHIP, 4.72 FIP)

Tuesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (15-5, 2.75 ERA, 1.061 WHIP, 3.33 FIP) vs. Christian Friedrich, LHP (4-9, 4.69 ERA, 1.459 WHIP, 4.29 FIP)

Wednesday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (11-7, 2.16 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 3.45 FIP) vs. Paul Clemens, RHP (2-2, 4.82 ERA, 1.580 WHIP, 6.95 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 9:10 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Tuesday: 9:10 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Wednesday: 2:40 p.m. CT, WGN

Prediction

The Cubs lost their Wrigley Field series to the Padres back in May, including getting swept in a doubleheader. It was the first time the Cubs had lost a series and also consecutive games this year. They'll make up for that by taking two of three here, with favorable pitching matchups.

Up next

The Cubs have Thursday off before beginning a three-game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers Friday night.