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On The Horizon: Cubs vs. Padres series preview

The Cubs open a 10-game West Coast road trip in San Diego.

Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

This is an old-fashioned “wraparound” series (more on those below) that ends on Monday, instead of Sunday, as the Cubs take on the Padres four times, the final regular season games between the Cubs and Padres for 2023. The Cubs took two of three from the Padres at Wrigley Field in April.

For more on the Padres, here’s Ben Fadden, who runs our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball.

The San Diego Padres made it to their first NLCS since 1998 last season and it seemed like they got even better in the offseason, as they added Xander Bogaerts, Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha, Matt Carpenter and Nelson Cruz. It hasn’t worked out that way though, as San Diego has about the same record as rebuilding teams such as the Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies.

Fernando Tatis Jr. provided a spark initially when he returned from his PED suspension but he can’t carry a team that has been terrible with runners in scoring position. At one point this season, the Padres had scored just one more run than the Oakland A’s (no, I’m not joking). The optimistic part of the fan base believes they have the talent to turn things around but it feels like that has been said by the players for weeks and nothing has turned around consistently.

Manny Machado’s OPS+ is 17 percent below league average so it’s not like he was tearing it up at the plate but it can’t help that he has been sidelined since May 16 after getting hit in the hand.

The last time the Padres played the Cubs, they lost two out of three at Wrigley Field. Those three games, though, were when Juan Soto was still struggling at the plate. Since then, Soto is hitting .333/.492/.626 with six home runs, 17 RBI and a 1.119 OPS. How he does at the plate should play a part in how this series goes.

Fun fact

The Cubs’ series beginning Friday will be their 83rd in San Diego since the Padres joined the National League in 1969. It will be the 12th to have games on four days. But it will be only the second that starts on Friday and ends on Monday.

Their only previous “wraparound” series as guests of the Padres was May 5-8, 2006. The Cubs lost all four games, by scores of 1-0, 2-1, 6-3 and 8-3. Of the Cubs’ other four-game series at San Diego, seven were Thursday-Sunday and three were Monday-Thursday.

The Cubs’ most recent Friday-Monday series consisted of five games at Wrigley Field against the Cardinals, September 4-7, 2020. The teams played a doubleheader on Saturday, with the Cards as the home team. The Cubs’ previous wraparound series at home had been September 14-17, 2012, against the Pirates. (Courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)

Probable pitching matchups

Friday: Jameson Taillon, RHP (0-3, 8.04 ERA, 1.691 WHIP, 4.47 FIP) vs. Michael Wacha, RHP (5-1, 3.45 ERA, 1.099 WHIP, 3.55 FIP)

Saturday: Drew Smyly, LHP (5-2, 3.45 ERA, 1.050 WHIP, 3.62 FIP) vs. Yu Darvish, RHP (3-4, 4.61 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 4.15 FIP)

Sunday: Marcus Stroman, RHP (5-4, 2.59 ERA, 0.986 WHIP, 3.55 FIP) vs. Ryan Weathers, LHP (1-3, 4.28 ERA, 1.366 WHIP, 4.47 FIP)

Monday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (0-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.821 WHIP, 3.50 FIP) vs. Blake Snell, LHP (1-6, 4.50 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, 5.07 FIP)

Times & TV channels

Friday: 8:40 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Saturday: 9:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, FS1 (no blackouts)

Sunday: 4:30 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network

Monday: 8:10 p.m. CT, Marquee Sports Network, MLB Network (outside Cubs and Padres market territories)

Four different starting times — so that’s fun. The late Sunday start is because there’s a marathon going on in San Diego and the Padres pushed back their game time to make sure the marathon was over before the game started.


The pitching matchups are decent enough. I think the Cubs will start June on a reasonably good note and split this four-game set, and with a little luck might even win three of four.

Up next

The Cubs travel up the California coast to Anaheim, where they will face the Angels in a three-game series beginning Tuesday evening.


How many games will the Cubs win against the Padres?

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  • 3%
    (6 votes)
  • 11%
    (18 votes)
  • 47%
    (72 votes)
  • 33%
    (50 votes)
  • 3%
    (5 votes)
151 votes total Vote Now