Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres (21-26) welcome the last-place Chicago Cubs (16-28) to San Diego for a 4-game weekend series. A familiar face will be back in town after taking over the Cubs’ managerial position before this season.Rick Renteria was in the Padres’ organization for 10 years, 6 with the big club. Now he is the skipper of the Cubs who have won 3 of their last 4 and splitting their 2-game set with the Yankees.
Tonight’s Game 1 featuresEric Stults (2-4, 4.50 ERA) is coming off two solid starts in a row, and looking for more. He will faceJake Arrieta (0-0, 2.70 ERA). The youngsterRobbie Erlin (3-4, 4.53 ERA) will get the nod against the veteran Edwin Jackson (3-3, 3.98 ERA), who faced the Padres twice in 2013 and got knocked around to the tune of 21 hits, 13 earned runs and 2 home runs in 10.2 innings. Let’s hope that can continue Friday. Donn Roach (1-0, 3.75 ERA) will once again start in place of the injured Andrew Cashner on Saturday. His counterpart will be Travis Wood (4-4, 4.61 ERA). The finale will feature strugglingIan Kennedy (2-6, 3.79 ERA) against Jason Hammel (5-2, 2.91) who is coming off of a strong start against the Yankees.
Another face that will be back in town is Anthony Rizzo. Since leaving the Padres after the 2011 season, he has hit 45 home runs in 291 games. He leads National League in walks this year and has 7 HRs, 21 RBI and a .268 average. He has been one of Chicago’s best hitters. He is not the only threat the Cubs have offensively.Junior Lake has 5 HRs, 7 doubles and a .272 average. Starlin Castro is hitting .291 with 6 HR’s and 23 RBI.
Even though the Cubs have the worst record in the NL, their pitching has been great. The Padres will avoidJeff Samardzija, who has a 1.46 ERA. In some ways, the Cubs and Padres are very similar. The Cubs have great pitching but time after time the pitchers get no support. The Cubs are 9th in the majors with a 3.49 team ERA. The Padres are 3rd.
The Friars have to take advantage of hosting a team weaker than they. Anything less than a series win would be disappointing. The Padres need something positive after getting shut down by Minnesota. The Cubs have played better of late, but the Padres need a series win here. The Padres were 4-2 in 2013 against the Cubs.
Keep the Faith.