Cubs-Padres Series Preview (April 8-10)


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The San Diego Padres, fresh off a tough weekend in the Bay, head home to take on their fellow wild-card hopefuls in the Chicago Cubs.

Leading Off

The San Diego Padres come into this series with their starting rotation seemingly finding its form, with above-average to quality starts from Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Dylan Cease, and Michael King.

These four went six-plus innings in each of their last starts against the Cardinals and Giants, with King and Musgrove recording victories. Offensively, the Padres have received contributions from Jurickson Profar and Fernando Tatis Jr., who have continued their hot starts to the season. Profar was also responsible for the first Slam Diego moment of the year.

And in the other corner are the Chicago Cubs, fresh off a series win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs have had an offseason of growth, signing Japanese lefty Shota Imanaga and bringing back center fielder Cody Bellinger on a modified bridge deal. The Cubbies also brought in Hector Neris from Houston to strengthen the bullpen, which was ranked 15th in MLB last season. Add to that a new manager in former Brewers skipper Craig Counsell, and you get a team preparing to take the next step into contention.

Pitching Matchups:
April 8: Javier Assad (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Yu Darvish (0-1, 2.30 ERA)
April 9: TBD vs Joe Musgrove (1-1, 6.28 ERA)
April 10: Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 11.74 ERA) vs Dylan Cease (0-1, 3.38 ERA)

The Padres roll into the series with the top three in their rotation set to take the hill, while the Cubs are set to throw their five, one, and two starters. It is also worth noting that the Cubs are missing left-hander Justin Steele and right-hander Jameson Taillon, two major parts to their rotation.

Entering the Game:
– Padres center fielder Jackson Merrill is coming off his first four-hit day in the Major Leagues.
– First baseman Jake Cronenworth went 4-for-11 in the weekend series against the Giants, with two two-hit efforts in the series.
– For the Cubs. first baseman Michael Busch is coming off a strong four RBI weekend against the Dodgers, including this home run off right-hander Dinelson Lamet.
– Right-hander Javier Assad threw six shutout innings in his previous start against Colorado, striking out five and inducing two double plays.

Cubs Hitters
The Cubs will be facing three right-handed starters in this series against the Padres, so the lineup they send out will likely look something like this:
Ian Happ – Left Field
Seiya Suzuki – Right Field
Cody Bellinger – Center Field
Christopher Morel – Designated Hitter
Dansby Swanson – Shortstop
Michael Busch – First Base
Nico Hoerner – Second Base
Miguel Amaya – Catcher
Nick Madrigal – Third Base

The Cubs are coming off a relatively hot stretch on the offensive side of the ball, with their run totals over their first six wins are as follows: nine, five, twelve, nine, nine, and eight. When this team wins, they get it done through their offense.

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Cubs Pitching
The Chicago Cubs have what some would consider an underrated pitching staff in MLB, having held opponents to 4 runs or less in five of their first nine games. However, in their other four games, they have surrendered five, eight, seven, and eleven runs to their opposition. The Cubs’ rotation has been a strong point of the team thus far in the season despite the injuries. However, their bullpen has been something of a mixed bag, and while their 16th rank sounds middle of the pack, it can be deceiving. The Cubs bullpen has posted a collective 4.43 ERA this season, giving up runs in seven of their first nine games. Former top prospect Adbert Alzolay anchors the bullpen with an intriguing stable of arms like Jose Cuas, Yency Almonte, and Drew Smyly.

Keys to the Series

Padres: Spark the Offense
The Padres offense has scored three runs or less in seven of their 12 games this season. Against this Cubs lineup that has the potential to be a high-scoring offense, the Padres will need to bring the offense should they want to win the series,

Cubs: Keep the Bats Hot
The Cubs showed they have potential offensively against a perennial contender this past weekend, and throughout the season, their offense has been the driving force for their success. For the Cubs to play spoiler and take this series, they will want to keep their offensive hot streak going.

The series kicks off tonight at 6:40 pm Pacific time at Petco Park. Watch the series on or listen live on 97.3 The Fan.

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