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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Padres series preview

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This one has to go better than the last one between these teams. Right?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres swept the Cubs three weeks ago in San Diego.

That was just about the most unlikely result of this so-far mediocre Cubs season. The Cubs hadn’t been swept in San Diego in seven years, since they lost all four games of a series in August 2010. That was a bad year for the Cubs and a contending season for the Padres, so that one, at least, made some sense.

Roy Thomasson of our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball updates us on his team.

The Padres are in the midst of a "rebuilding" season, and if that includes tanking, it's been a success. While the kids on the roster are giving us plenty of nuggets for small moral victories, the shaky pitching staff and general inexperience on the field has made the team highly susceptible to the blowup inning and blowout loss. Injuries have decimated the pitching staff, forcing rookies Dinelson Lamet and Miguel Diaz into the rotation. Lamet has been impressive at times, and Diaz has some nasty action on his fastball, but neither is prepared for the role long-haul. Trevor Cahill (shoulder) and Jered Weaver (hip) are reportedly nearing a return from the disabled list, but some fans would rather not see Weaver back at all. Cahill got off to a nice start this season, as have fellow veterans Clayton Richard and Jhoulys Chacin, while last year's Rule 5 pick Luis Perdomo has looked like the ace of the staff at times.

On the offensive side of the game, we've seen recent breakouts from unlikely callups Jose Pirela and Franchy Cordero. Neither was expected to be a part of the outfield picture at the start of the season, but injuries to Alex Dickerson (back), Travis Jankowski (foot), and Manuel Margot (calf) forced the team to look for other options. Pirela, a righty, has been leading off recently, and Cordero, a lefty, has been in the #2 spot for the last several games. Wil Myers (1B), Yangervis Solarte (2B), and Hunter Renfroe (RF) have been the "heart of the order," and while they're underperforming as of late, each is a power threat at any moment. Oh, and you don't want to run on Renfroe, he's got a cannon! Catcher Austin Hedges has been every bit the defensive wizard we knew he could be, but he's come with surprising power at the plate, showing the makings of a solid MLB hitter. Cory Spangenberg has been manning third base and has been swinging a hot bat of his own lately. Erick Aybar was the everyday shortstop at the start of the season but Rule 5 draftee Allen Cordoba has been seeing more and more time there as the season has progressed.

Observation: The Cubs would have been better off re-signing Clayton Richard as their fifth starter. He’s been objectively better than anyone the Cubs have had in that role so far this year, having posted 1.2 bWAR already.

Fun fact

Fact, but not so much fun: Since the Cubs returned to contention in 2015, they have not played well against the Padres. They’re 7-8 against San Diego over the last two-plus seasons, and lost both series played so far at Wrigley Field in that time span.

Pitching matchups

Monday: Jon Lester, LHP (4-4, 3.89 ERA, 1.308 WHIP, 3.52 FIP) vs. Clayton Richard, LHP (5-7, 4.30 ERA, 1.420 WHIP, 3.86 FIP)

Tuesday: Mike Montgomery, LHP (0-3, 2.56 ERA, 1.292 WHIP, 3.88 FIP) vs. Jhoulys Chacin, RHP (6-5, 5.10 ERA, 1.339 WHIP, 4.53 FIP)

Wednesday: Eddie Butler, RHP (3-2, 4.41 ERA, 1.356 WHIP, 4.61 FIP) vs. Miguel Diaz, RHP (1-1, 7.36 ERA, 1.602 WHIP, 6.55 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Monday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m. CT, CSN Chicago

Wednesday: 1:20 p.m. CT, WGN, MLB Network (outside Chicago and San Diego markets)

Prediction

I really have no feel for this series at all, given the Cubs’ poor performance in San Diego last month. Interestingly, the Cubs won’t be facing any of the three starting pitchers they faced in that series (Jarred Cosart, Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo), so maybe that’ll help change things. I picked two of three in the Pirates series and they actually did it, so I’m going to continue that for this series: two of three.

Up next

The Cubs travel to Miami for a four-game series against the Marlins beginning Thursday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Padres?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    3
    (114 votes)
  • 37%
    2
    (83 votes)
  • 8%
    1
    (20 votes)
  • 2%
    0
    (6 votes)
223 votes total Vote Now