After playing 23 of their previous 28 games on the road, the Padres finally have back-to-back home series for the first time in over a month. In that 28-game stretch, the team only won 10 games, but the schedule should be only partly to blame. The offense has struggled to come together and the starting pitching has been held together by duct tape.
Eric Hosmer was the big offseason signing, and he’s been streaky to say the least. Since June 5 he’s hit .179/.214/.261 in 33 games while putting the ball on the ground more than anyone in baseball. Compare that to the 35 games prior when he hit .321/.393/.530 and there’s no coincidence that the team’s success has mirrored his performance. During his hot streak, the team posted a respectable 18-16 record. During his slump, the team’s record is 12-21. Wil Myers returned from the disabled list on June 21 and he’s looking as good as ever, hitting five home runs in the last three games, but he can’t win games all by himself. Manuel Margot is starting to look like he’s getting back on track, and Hunter Renfroe is showing signs of improvement, but slumps from Christian Villanueva, Jose Pirela, Travis Jankowski, and the rest of the supporting cast has left the offense anemic.
On the pitching side, a shaky starting rotation has been propped up by a solid bullpen. Clayton Richard and Tyson Ross have done their jobs reasonably well so far, while rookies Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer are learning on the job and improving as the season goes on. The back end of the rotation has been a mix of guys struggling to stay healthy and “Johnny Wholestaff,” meaning the bullpen going the distance. Closer Brad Hand has been set up reliably by Kirby Yates, Craig Stammen, and submariner Adam Cimber, and the staff has relied on long relief appearances from lefties Matt Strahm and Robbie Erlin, but the extreme usage of the bullpen has left them taxed often.
When the Padres can get their bats to come alive and the starting pitching takes the stress off the relievers, this team can look surprisingly good. It’s just been a while since those stars have aligned, and the Cubs will be facing a Padres squad that will surely be licking their wounds after a four-game series against the rival Dodgers.
It’s been more than a calendar year since these two teams last met. The last game between the Cubs and Padres was June 21, 2017 at Wrigley Field. Since then the Cubs have played 181 games and gone 108-73, and the Padres have played 185 games and gone 82-103.
Friday: Tyler Chatwood, RHP (3-5, 5.01 ERA, 1.785 WHIP, 5.06 FIP) vs. Clayton Richard, LHP (7-8, 4.50 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, 4.15 FIP)
Saturday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (5-8, 3.93 ERA, 1.206 WHIP, 4.56 FIP) vs. Luis Perdomo, RHP (1-3, 7.09 ERA, 2.100 WHP, 4.14 FIP)
Sunday: Jon Lester, LHP (11-2, 2.45 ERA, 1.166 WHIP, 4.29 FIP) vs. Eric Lauer, LHP (5-5, 4.40 ERA, 1.639 WHIP, 4.60 FIP)
Times & TV channels
Friday: 9:10 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago
Saturday: 9:10 p.m. CT, ABC7 Chicago, MLB Network (outside Chicago and San Diego markets)
Sunday: 3:10 p.m. CT, WGN
Tyler Chatwood notwithstanding, these pitching matchups look favorable for the Cubs, so I’ll say they’ll take two of three.
The All-Star break! The game is Tuesday at Nationals Park in Washington.
After that, the Cubs head home to Wrigley Field. They’ll play the Cardinals in a five-game series, which begins with a “showcase” game next Thursday evening, the only MLB game that day. The series also includes a split doubleheader next Saturday.
How many games will the Cubs win against the Padres?
This poll is closed