After dropping two of three to the Cardinals, the Cubs were able to split the two-game series against Pittsburgh. Their win on Wednesday against the Bucs was the first time in the last 10 games that a team from the NL Central had beaten the Pirates. Cole Hamels looked phenomenal in his debut and his stat line would have looked even better if not for three errors.
The Cubs currently lead the Brewers by one game in the NL Central with a 62-45 record as they head back to the Friendly Confines to welcome the San Diego Padres for a four game series at Wrigley. In the previous series against the Padres, the Cubs got the sweep to head into the All-Star break on a high note.
The Padres have not done much to right the ship since then and are on a seven-game skid after losing two of three to the Mets and getting swept by the Diamondbacks and Giants. They also lost three of four to the Phillies to open the second half of the season. Over that time, the Padres’ offense ranks 29th in fWAR, while the pitching ranks 20th.
As a unit, they have hit six home runs and scored 40 runs since the break. The Cubs, on the other hand, have hit 14 home runs and scored 62 runs so far in the second half. Needless to say, these are two very different offensive units, both recently and overall.
The Padres do have a good deal more consistency on the mound and have only used 15 pitchers, compared to 25 by the Cubs. The Padres have had a better K (21.0) and BB (8.9) percentages than the Cubs (18.4 K, 10.7 BB). So, the Padres have been a slightly pitching staff than the Cubs thus far in the second half of the season.
While baseball can always baseball, there’s no reason for the Cubs not to take three of the four games in this one.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Thursday, August 2nd at 7:05 CT on CSN Chicago
- Friday, August 3rd at 1:20 CT on CSN Chicago and MLB Network
- Saturday, August 4th at 1:20 CT on CSN Chicago
- Sunday, August 5th at 1:20 CT on WGN
What to Watch For
- Javy Baez continues to rip the cover off of the ball. In the two games against the Pirates, he went 5-for-8 with two runs scored and four driven in. He also walked twice. Look for him to continue to feast against the lackluster Padres pitching staff.
- This has been a running theme this season, but the Cubs starters really need to start going deeper into games. In the 14 games since the break, they have averaged just about five innings per start. This means the bullpen has had to put in a ton of work, which will not bode well down the stretch if it continues. Look for the starters to go deeper in games against a team that doesn’t sport a particularly great offense that only walks 6.4 percent of the time so far in the second half.