There’s only one more weekend series left before the MLB All-Star break as the San Diego Padres welcome the Chicago Cubs.
Well, here we are. The San Diego Padres are set to begin their final series before the All-Star game, welcoming the Chicago Cubs to Petco Park for a three-game set. Hard to believe that we are at this point in the season but time flies when you’re trying to figure out why Eric Hosmer can’t hit a baseball in the air or why Jose Pirela is Jose Pirela.
The Chicago Cubs enter this weekend with a record of 52-38, just one game behind the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. They are winners of seven of their last ten games and currently hold one of the NL wildcard spots, along with the Atlanta Braves.
This will be the first time the two teams have met this season, having played 478 games in their all-time series. Chicago holds the historical advantage, posting a 260-218 record against the Padres. Recently, the Padres have a lot of success against the Cubbies. The Friars have lost just two season series against Chicago, since 2006.
Pitching matchups and notes of interest.
One of the first things to watch for in this series is how the Padres matchup against Tyler Chatwood. Chatwood enters with a 1.78 WHIP, 5.05 FIP, and a 19% walk rate across his 79 innings of work in his first season with Chicago. If the Padres can’t find a way to get on base against Chatwood, would anyone be shocked?
Of course, look for Wil Myers to continue his current hot stretch. He’s the only hitter in the San Diego lineup that is producing anything of note and has a 1.326 career OPS against Chatwood, including three home runs in 22 at-bats.
Now in his fourth year with the Cubs, Jon Lester has a 54-27 record with a 3.20 ERA in Chicago, playing in two All-Star games and finishing second in Cy Young voting back in 2016. Maybe Eric Hosmer can end the first half of the season on a high note, facing his former regular foe in Lester (when both were in the American League). Hosmer has a career .333 average and .524 OBP against Lester.
While Luis Perdomo’s performance against a playoff team is intriguing, make sure you are watching Sunday’s contest, when Eric Lauer takes the mound. Actually, record Sunday’s game and watch it later (or watch on-demand on MLB.tv) and make sure you watching the MLB Future’s Game which will also take place on Sunday at 1 pm.
Lauer’s best performances this season have come against the Los Angeles Dodgers (twice), the Oakland A’s (just outside the American League playoff picture), the San Francisco Giants, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Over his last 18.2 innings, Lauer has given up just five earned runs with 13 strikeouts and four walks. Oh yeah, he also throws the ball 94 mph now and has a “f***king weird heater.” How does he take on the lineup of the Chicago Cubs, pitching opposite of Jon Lester? In a season where every single player is trying to prove their future worth with this team (minus Hosmer and Myers), this is one of Lauer’s biggest tests of the season.
Sit back and enjoy this weekend’s games. Before you know it, we’ll be writing season recaps and looking ahead to 2019.