May 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; People walk by the Cubs marquee before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers. The marquee was painted green from red as part of the season-long 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres (43-55) head to Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs (40-57). The Padres are coming off of a series win against the Mets while the Cubs have lost 5 straight after being swept by the Diamondbacks. They are in last place in the NL Central and they have the second to worst record in the National League.
Game 1 will feature Eric Stults (3-11, 4.98 ERA) and rookie Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 6.00 ERA). Stults struggled most of the first half and has allowed 5 runs and 5 walks in his last 3 starts. Hendricks has one major league start under his belt, allowing 4 runs in 6 innings against the Reds.
Game 2 has Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.62 ERA) pitching against Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 0.00 ERA). Kennedy struggled his last time out, allowing 4 runs in 5 innings against the Mets. Like Hendricks, Wada has all of one major league start in his career. He pitched 5 shutout innings in a no-decision.
In the finale, the All-Star Tyson Ross (8-10, 2.70 ERA) is slated to pitch against veteran Edwin Jackson (5-10, 5.61 ERA). Ross pitched 7 shutout innings his last time out. The Padres tagged Jackson for 8 runs earlier this year at Petco Park.
Former Padres prospect Anthony Rizzo has certainly bloomed this year. He got an All-Star bid and is tied for the National League lead with 23 home runs. He leads the Cubs in most offensive categories with 53 RBI and a .281 average. A more impressive stat is that he is hitting .312 against lefties. Besides Rizzo, the Cubs don’t pack much of a punch offensively. They hit .237 as a team, the next to worst besides the Padres.
Their pitching was great when they had Jeff Samardzija, but since his trade to the A’s, they are in the middle of the pack with a 3.90 team ERA.
This is a matchup that favors the Padres. The Padres have woken up offensively lately and they pitch better than the Cubs. The key to a series win is to take advantage of two inexperienced rookies taking the hill for the Cubs in this series.