Series Preview: Padres at Cubs, August 2 - August 5, 2018

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Series Preview: Padres at Cubs, August 2 – August 5, 2018

Chicago Cubs

This weekend, the Chicago Cubs are hosting the last-place San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field for four games. If they win any fewer than two of these games, it’ll be QUITE the bummer – especially with the Brewers hot on their trail. Heck, even a split would feel like a loss.

Of course, for the Cubs to do well this weekend, they’re going to need some great starts from their rotation regulars: Lester, Hendricks, Quintana, Montgomery.

Each guy should have the advantage this weekend, because the Padres are the single worst offense in baseball this year (81 wRC+). Kyle Hendricks, in particular, should be in store for a good start, because the Padres are even worse against righties (78 wRC+.

We’re Going Streaking

The Chicago Cubs (62-45) have not been able to break away from .500 in the second half, splitting their eight games with the Cardinals, four games with the Diamondbacks, and two games with the Pirates. They’re a game ahead the Brewers in the NL Central.

The San Diego Padres (42-68) have gone 2-9 in the second half and are 18.5 games out of first.

Game Times and Broadcasts Info

  • Thursday, August 2nd at 7:05 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
  • Friday, August 3rd at 1:20 CT on CSN-C, MLBN, 670 The Score
  • Saturday, August 4th at 1:20 CT on CSN-C, 670 The Score
  • Sunday, August 5th at 1:20 CT on WGN, 670 The SCore

Chicago Cubs

Probable Pitchers:

  • Mike Montgomery (4.03 ERA, 4.11 FIP; 1.93 K/BB)
  • Jose Quintana (4.26 ERA, 4.69 FIP; 1.83 K/BB)
  • Kyle Hendricks (3.97 ERA, 4.38 FIP; 3.03 K/BB)
  • Jon Lester (3.22 ERA, 4.66 FIP; 2.02 K/BB)

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Willson Contreras
  • 1B – Anthony Rizzo
  • 2B – Javy Baez/David Bote
  • 3B – Ian Happ/David Bote
  • SS – Addison Russell
  • LF – Kyle Schwarber/Ben Zobrist
  • CF – Albert Almora/Ian Happ
  • RF – Jason Heyward/Ben Zobrist

Unavailable: Anthony Bass, Justin Hancock, Kris Bryant, Yu Darvish, Drew Smyly, Brandon Morrow

Pittsburgh Pirates

Probable Pitchers:

  • Robbie Erlin (3.47 ERA, 3.31 FIP; 8.33 K/BB)
  • Tyson Ross (4.41 ERA, 4.48 FIP; 2.10 K/BB)
  • Joey Lucchesi (3.74 ERA, 4.58 FIP; 2.79 K/BB)
  • TBD

Active Depth Chart:

  • C – Austin Hedges
  • 1B – Eric Hosmer
  • 2B – Jose Pirela
  • 3B – Christian Villanueva
  • SS – Freddy Galvis
  • LF – Wil Myers
  • CF – Manuel Margot
  • RF – Travis Jankowski

Unavailable: Dinelson Lamet, Francy Cordero, Luis Perdomo, Bryan Mitchell, Eric Lauer, Colten Brewer

Keep An Eye Out For …

Cubs Pitcher: Kyle Hendricks is coming off a really solid start against the Cardinals and I do hope he can build on that going forward, but there’s a much larger trend at play behind the scenes. Over the past five games, Hendricks has struck out 31 batters and walked just 4. That’s VERY good, and stands in stark contrast to the five games before that (13 BBs, 15Ks).

Cubs Player:  Javy Baez, Ben Zobrist, Anthony Rizzo, and Willson Contreras are all smoking hot right now, but Addison Russell, Ian Happ, Kyle Schwarber, and Albert Almora Jr. have all cooled off considerably. Jason Heyward had a nice night last night, re-charging his second-half production, but he’s still been below average since the break. The Cubs offense is doing fine, but it could be doing a lot better. Also, it needs its Kris Bryant back.

Padres Pitcher: Craig Stammen has been the most valuable (by WAR) Padres pitcher this year and he’s a reliever. In fact, four of the Padres most valuable pitchers this season are relievers, and two of them (Adam Cimber, Brad Hand) were traded away at the deadline.

Padres Player: Freddy Galvis has been the hottest Padres hitter over the last two weeks, slashing .317/.349/.463, which is, yeah, not that great. This is just such a beatable team from top to bottom. I will be very annoyed if the Cubs can’t win this series.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami