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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Padres series preview

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Here’s a team the Cubs haven’t played in a while.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, San Diego Padres! It’s been a while (see below).

As such, I asked Richard Wade, an editor at our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball, to tell us about what’s going on with his team in 2019.

The San Diego Padres sit three games below .500 after 95 games, and while some fans might be disappointed by that fact, the organization is as exciting to root for as it has been in over 20 years. Manny Machado, who signed with the team for over $300 million in the offseason, has been everything that A.J. Preller and the Padres could have possibly hoped for in the first half of the season. Despite starting the season scuffling, Machado has been the best player on the roster since June 10, batting .336/.381/.733 while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at the hot corner.

Somehow, though, the biggest free agent signing in franchise history has not been the story of the season. That honor goes to rookie shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. The prize of the James Shields trade of a few years ago, Tatis has been unbelievably good. He is well on his way to having the best season by a shortstop in the team’s history (look out, 1980 Ozzie Smith). And in the afterglow of those two stars, the Padres are also featuring two of the most prolific home run hitters in San Diego’s power-starved history with corner outfielders Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe on pace to crack 40 homers (the PetCo era record) this year.

On the pitching side of things, the Padres have one of Major League Baseball’s most effective closers. Kirby Yates has been nearly flawless this season. That’s par for the course in San Diego where they have always seemed to churn out great relievers. What’s out of the usual is the rest of the bullpen has been somewhere between a tire fire and a dumpster fire. A unit that was expected to carry the pitching staff has instead been its weak point. The starters have mostly been passable, with the exception of rookie Chris Paddack, who has been a revelation. Just this week, he went seven no-hit innings before finally conceding in the eighth and has been the clear ace of the staff.

For the Padres, this year might not have gone as well as some fans had hoped, but the future is undeniably bright.

Fun fact

These two teams last played August 5, 2018. Since then the Cubs are 83-65 and the Padres are 68-76.

Pitching matchups

Friday: Jon Lester, LHP (9-6, 3.74 ERA, 1.307 WHIP, 4.24 FIP) vs. Eric Lauer, LHP (5-7, 4.04 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, 3.84 FIP)

Saturday: Jose Quintana, LHP (7-7, 4.21 ERA, 1.346 WHIP, 3.93 FIP) vs. Joey Lucchesi, LHP (7-4, 3.92 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 3.85 FIP)

Sunday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (7-7, 3.46 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 3.75 FIP) vs. Cal Quantrill, RHP (2-2, 4.21 ERA, 1.277 WHIP, 4.58 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 1:20 p.m. CT, NBC Sports Chicago, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Padres market territories)

Saturday: 1:20 p.m., ABC7 Chicago

Sunday: 1:20 p.m., WGN

Prediction

The Padres were doing pretty well right up to almost the end of June, but since then they have lost 10 of their last 14 and been outscored 80-48 in those 14 games. The Cubs are on a nice little roll and should take two of three here.

Up next

The Cubs head to San Francisco for a three-game series against the Giants beginning Monday evening.

Poll

How many games will the Cubs win against the Padres?

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    3
    (106 votes)
  • 44%
    2
    (109 votes)
  • 8%
    1
    (20 votes)
  • 3%
    0
    (8 votes)
243 votes total Vote Now