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Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres preview, Sunday 7/15, 3:10 CT

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The Cubs look to enter the All-Star break on a high note.

Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

A sweep for the Cubs in San Diego is a rare thing. They did it in 2016, on their way to a World Series championship. But before that, they hadn’t accomplished a three-game sweep in San Diego since 2004. They also did it in 2003, and before that in 1998.

Three of those four years were playoff years for the Cubs. Not that there’s necessarily any correlation, but it would be nice to get out of San Diego with a sweep this afternoon. The Cubs will face the Padres at Wrigley Field for four games August 2-5.

The MLB Futures Game will happen at the same time as today’s Cubs game. Cubs minor league catcher Miguel Amaya, currently on the South Bend Cubs roster, is in the starting lineup for the World team:

If you’re interested, this game is on MLB Network at 3 p.m. CT and will also be live-streamed on MLB.com.

Other notes for Sunday:

  • The Cubs will own the best record in the N.L. at the All-Star Break for the first time in 10 years since being 57-38 (.600) in 2008. The eventual 2016 World Series Champion Cubs (53-35) trailed the Giants (57-33) by three games at the break.
  • Further, that best record will have been accomplished despite the Cubs playing the fewest home games in the major leagues, just 43. They’re 28-15 (.651) in those home games, just .001 behind the Phillies (30-16, .652) for the best home mark in the N.L. this season.
  • Jon Lester’s 2.45 ERA is currently second-lowest by a lefty at the Break in franchise history behind only Dick Ellsworth (2.02 ERA in 1963) and ahead of Vern Olsen (2.57 ERA in 1941), Larry French (2.72 ERA in 1936) and Travis Wood (2.79 in 2013).
  • More on lefthanders: The Cubs have a 16-6 record vs. left-handed starting pitchers this season, good for a .727 winning percentage, the best mark in the National League and trailing only the Yankees (23-6, .793) for the best record in the majors.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

As noted in this article, Albert Almora Jr. has been placed on the family emergency leave list, and David Bote has been recalled.

Padres lineup:

Jon Lester, LHP vs. Eric Lauer, LHP

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Lester’s start was moved to today, likely to get him an extra outing after the All-Star Game, in which he won’t pitch. Hopefully the rest will do Jon well, because his last three starts (4.41 ERA, 1.592 WHIP, 16⅓ innings) haven’t been up to the standards of the rest of his good 2018 campaign.

Jon’s last start against the Padres was June 19, 2017 at Wrigley Field: six innings, five hits, two earned runs. That’d probably do the Cubs pretty well this afternoon.

Eric Lauer was the Padres’ first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2016 draft, actually, their third pick in that round (they also had the eighth and 24th overall picks). He is the first player from that round to play in the major leagues. (The Cubs had no picks in that round or the next, surrendering those for signing John Lackey and Jason Heyward.)

Lauer made just 34 minor-league starts at three levels before making his MLB debut April 24. After a rough beginning to his career (after seven starts he had a 7.67 ERA) he’s been much better: over his last eight starts he’s posted a 2.33 ERA and 1.360 WHIP.

He’s obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on the active roster.

Today’s game is on WGN.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball. If you do go there to interact with Padres fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2018 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2017. Here’s how it works.

You’ll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads” so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game’s StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.