Padres Welcome Cubs For Key Series

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May 11, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) hits a two run home run during the first inning against the New York Mets at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres (19-20) host the Chicago Cubs (21-16) for a key middle-of-the-week series. I say “key” because it is looking more and more like manager Bud Black is coaching for his job. His seat got a little hotter after the Washington Nationals outscored the Padres 24-6 in the last three games of the weekend series.

They are below .500 for the first time since April 29th. They are hot and cold with the bats and pitching.

The Cubs are coming off of a series win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the NL Central, the Cubs are in second place behind the St. Louis Cardinals, 3 1/2 games back.

Here are the pitching match-ups for all three games.

Game 1 Tuesday, 7:10pm

James Shields (5-0, 3.91 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel (3-1, 3.11)

Shields is coming off one of his best starts as a Padre. He pitched six innings while striking out nine and only allowing one run against the Seattle Mariners. The Padres need another start like that to end this skid and get back on track. This is why the Padres got Shields, to stop the bleeding and turn the ship around when needed.

He started against the Cubs in April, also going six innings in that start. He earned the win after striking out nine and allowing three runs. Shields is 2-0 at Petco Park this year so far.

Hammel faced the Padres in that same series and got a no-decision after throwing 6 1/3 innings while allowing four runs. He has a 5.06 ERA in 13 career starts against the Padres.