The San Diego Padres just won three out of four games from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The home stand will continue with a three game set against the Chicago Cubs on Monday.
The Friars are obviously not playing their best at the moment. At least they are no longer in last place in the N.L. West though after that series against the Dbacks. The Padres will have a very tough task now as they will face the best team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs.
At 78-45 the Cubs possess the best record in the MLB. Many Cubbies fans are expecting 2016 to be the year where the curse is reversed. The last time these two teams faced each other the Friars would actually get the upper hand. The Padres would take two out of three games from the Cubs at Wrigley Field earlier this season. That would be quite the series for the Padres as they would beat the Cubs twice in one day. A double-header would occur in that series and the Padres would come out on top in both games of it. I really can’t see the Padres getting the better of the Cubs this time around. Especially when you consider the pitching matchups in this series.
There haven’t been many times this season when the pitching matchups are this unbalanced. This series completely favors the Chicago Cubs in that regard. The Cubbies quite simply have the best pitching staff in all of baseball. They have the lowest team ERA at 3.15. They also have allowed the fewest runs and have thrown the most shutouts of any other MLB team. The first game of the series is one that definitely favors the Cubs.. The North-Siders will have lefty, Jon Lester on the mound. Lester is having a great year at 13-4 with an ERA of 2.86. The only flaw about Lester is that he has not performed as well on the road as he has at Wrigley Field. Lester has held a 3.88 ERA on the road which can factor into this game. This will also be Lester’s first start at Petco Park. It’ll be interesting to see how the Lefty will fair against the Friars. The Padres will have Edwin Jackson on the hill. Overall the German-born pitcher has looked pretty sharp for the Friars this season. However, he would struggle severely his last time out on the mound. Jackson would only go four innings and allow eight runs on nine hits against the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida. Game one will actually most likely be the Padres best chance at a W in this series. Jackson will need to perform this time around to make that possible.
Game two of the series will bring forth a big mismatch of a matchup. The Cubs will have one of the best pitchers in baseball in Jake Arrieta. The Former Cy Young award winner is having yet another great campaign. Jake has gone 15-5 with an ERA of 2.75 in 24 games this season. Arrieta looks on pace to have another big season and also to beating the Padres on Tuesday night. The Friars will come at the Cubs with Christian Friedrich on the mound. This could turn out to be Friedrich’s last start of the campaign as he is on an innings limit. Friedrich has really been quite inconsistent this season for the Friars. Friedrich has failed to win in his last three starts and has a high ERA of 4.58 to go with it. However, the lefty would actually perform very well in his last outing. Friedrich would only allow two runs to score over six innings at Tropicana Field. A lack of run support is what would ultimately give Friedrich the loss. I really can’t see the Friars winning with Friedrich this time out.
The last game of the series is another game which I can’t see the Padres winning. The Cubs will have a revelation on the mound in Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks has been amazing this season with an 11-7 record and an MLB leading 2.16 ERA. Hendricks has also been phenomenal in his last three starts with a 1.77 ERA. The Padres will send Paul Clemens on the tough task against Hendricks and the Cubs. Paul Clemens will need to overuse his curve ball if he wants any chance of winning this game. Clemens has really not looked that great this season. He definitely seems out of place as a member of the Padres staff. A role as a long-reliever seems to suit Clemens a lot more. Clemens has actually gone 1-0 in his last three starts but has a high ERA of 5.02 in those starts. The Cubs will most likely win the finale of this series and this series in general. I can really see the Cubs not just winning this series but also managing a series sweep as well. Despite this we should get some interesting baseball in the mix.
Ben Zobrist vs Edwin Jackson
Edwin Jackson is a man who has been on several teams and has faced several batters. Ben Zobrist has not bounced around too much but he has faced Jackson 13 times. In those 13 at bats both have actually found success against one another. Zobrist has gone 3-13 with a home run and four walks against Jackson. All walks aside, Jackson has managed to strike out Zobrist four times as well. This should turn out to be quite the interesting matchup between the two.
Alexei Ramirez vs Jake Arrieta
This is another really interesting matchup. Ramirez has at bats against Arrieta dating back to 2010. In fact he has actually faced Arrieta in every year since 2010. “The Cuban Missile” has managed to get at least a hit against Arrieta in each of those years. Overall Alexei has gone 6-16 against the former Cy Young Award winner. Ramirez is yet to homer against Arrieta but he has managed to get a double and two RBI. Should be one to keep a watch on in this series. With Sardinas recalled it will be interesting to see if Andy Green inserts Ramirez into the lineup on Tuesday.
Players To Watch
Kris Bryant has become one of the best players in all of baseball. Bryant is currently outperforming guys like Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and Miguel Cabrera. The former USD Torrero is currently batting .300 with 31 home runs, 83 RBI and a killer OPS of .957. Bryant did actually struggle in the earlier series between these two teams. Bryant would only get two hits in a three game series. One thing about Bryant is that he has actually fared very well away from Wrigley this season. In 59 games away from Chicago He has hit .324 with 16 home runs and 48 RBI. His OPS away from home also stands at a massive 1.008. Bryant is a player to watch in any series but make sure to catch him in this one.
From Kris Bryant we go to another Cub with ties to San Diego, Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo was actually once a member of the San Diego Padres. Let’s not forget that he was a piece in that painful Adrian Gonzalez deal. Rizzo did not have a long tenure with the Friars nor did he perform to his potential. Well Rizzo has reached that potential and is now one of the best first basemen in the MLB. The All Star is having a great season batting .295 with 25 home runs and 87 RBI. The former Friar also shares the same killer OPS as Kris Bryant at .957. Rizzo has really turned into a real game-changer for the Chicago Cubs. Make sure to keep an eye on this former Friar in this series at Petco Park.
Many Friars had solid series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. But we’ll focus on just a couple of these players. The first one will be rookie, Patrick Kivlehan. Kivlehan played in just his first two MLB games in this past series. The former Mariner would go 4-6 with two walks and two RBI. The rookie would also manage to hit his first career home run in that series. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how Kivlehan can handle this loaded Cubs pitching staff. Make sure to watch this series to find out how he does.
Ryan Schimpf has really been a great revelation for the Padres this season. Schimpf has not had the best BA at this season but has hit 14 home runs in limited playing time. Schimpf would not have an amazing series against the Diamondbacks. However, he would have the best game of his career in that series. Schimpf would lead the Friars to victory in the second game of the series. He would go 4-5 in the game with five RBI. Schimpf would really come up clutch in the game with a game tying home run in the eighth inning. Then he would hammer a walk-off three run homer later on in that game. Hopefully the Jumbo Schimpf can strike again and the Padres can at least provide us with some exciting baseball. Go Padres!