Series Preview: Chicago Cubs (25-24) at San Diego Padres (19-33)

In Series Previews by berselius158 Comments

Well that was, uh, not great. At least the Cubs transition from playing one of the best teams in the league to one of the worst. Weird shit tends to happen on west coast road trips though, so who knows what will happen. The Padres are as bad as their record, with the second worst offense in baseball by wOBA and third worst by ERA. Former Cubs Trevor Cahill and Clayton Richard lead the team in WAR. The Cubs thankfully 'dodge' them in this series, however, as Cahill is on the DL and Richard pitched on Saturday.

Team Leaders

Cubs

Papas

Injuries, transactions, vengeance pacts, etc.

Ben Zobrist has been dealing with a sore wrist since last Friday. And the entire team seems like it needs to come down with a case of David Patton disease.

The Padres have a whole lot of players down, and with how eclectic this team is I'm not sure which ones actually matter. Cahill is on the DL with a shoulder strain, which is the most notable one. Carter Capps, he of the bizarre/illegal delivery, is on his way back from TJS last year. And hey, somehow Jared Weaver is still in the bigs. Well, on the DL in the bigs.

Pitching matchups

K%, BB%, ERA, projected ERA listed for each starter.

Monday: Kyle Hendricks, RHP (20.1%, 8.4%, 3.25, 3.45) vs Jarred Cosart, RHP (11.1%, 15.3%, 4.50, 5.06), 3:40 PM CT

Kyle has looked more Kyle-like this year, though not necessarily Cyle-like. He went seven strong innings in his last start and is the current title holder for most reliable Cubs starter. But that crown has not rested easily on the heads of those who wear it this season, or some other such cliche.

The Padres were rescued from another terrible Cosart start his last time out due to a foul ball that was hit off his foot. He too has pitched like one would expect Jarred Cosart to pitch. He has not gien up a home run this year, so he has that going for him I guess.

Tuesday: Eddie Butler, RHP (15.0%, 16.7%, 1.93, 5.00) vs Dinelson Lamet, RHP (40.0%, 10.0%, 1.80, 4.41), 9:10 PM CT

The Cubs have managed to squeeze three starts out of Butler while avoiding giving up a boatload of runs. If they're going to stretch it to four, this probably represents the best chance.

Lamet has one major league start under his belt, a five inning, one run, eight strikeout outing against the Mets last week. He throws hard: 95-98 on his fastball and has an okay slider. Based on his minor league numbers he skews toward being fly ball guy. Given how the Cubs seem to pop out two times an inning maybe that's not so great.

Wednesday: Jake Arrieta, RHP (26.1%, 6.1%, 4.92, 3.22) vs Luis Perdomo, RHP (22.0%, 6.8%, 5.61, 3.76), 2:40 PM CT

Perdomo has one of the strangest fangraphs pages that I have seen. He was in the Cardinals farm system from 2011-2015 and never rose above high A ball. Then he made 20 starts for the Padres in 2016, posting a 5.71 ERA. And he's back his year. Perhaps they mixed him up with the other Luis Perdomo who made 60 appearances as the long man out of the pen for the Padres in 2009 and was also not good. Doing some actual googling, he was a rule 5 guy, so I guess that makes a little more sense. Also, I love how a 5.71 ERA in 146 innings is considered a rule 5 success, per the fangraphs story I found when googling (dying laughing). He throws a lot of fastballs.

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  1. Berselius is too lazy to login

    To-day’s base ball squadron

    RF Zobrist
    LF Schwarber
    3B Bryant
    1B Rizzo
    C Montero
    CF Heyward
    2B Baez
    SS Russell
    P Hendricks

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  2. dmick89

    I’m still feeling pretty good about my prediction of 6 runs scored for the Cubs in this series. I was thinking it might be a bit high, but I think they can do it.

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  3. Author
    berselius

    It’s too bad that Weaver is on the DL and missing this series. It would be the ultimate test of stoppable force vs movable object.

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  4. dmick89

    Perkins,

    It says a lot about what’s happened to this lineup that I’m actually not the least bit surprised to see Jay hit in the 5th spot and possibly be deserving of hitting higher.

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  5. dmick89

    Rizzo the Rat,

    If it’s under 85 the Cubs should have a decent shot. I just hope Arrieta turns it around so the Cubs have the option of trading him at the deadline. If they’re only a mediocre team, I’d rather they get some prospects for him, but right now they couldnt get shit.

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  6. dmick89

    If I got to pitch against the Cubs offense, my final line would be 5 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks (I can get a little wild), 1 run (unearned), 8 strikeouts, 2 HBP.

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  7. dmick89

    dmick89:
    I predict the Cubs bats break out today, but they lose 16-4.

    I was way wrong on that prediction. The Padres could still get 16, but there’s not a chance in hell of the Cubs even coming anywhere near 4 runs.

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  8. dmick89

    Next year could really suck too if the Cubs don’t get some of these guys to bounce back. I was really expecting more than just two good years.

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  9. uncle dave

    These guys should have to sit through a group hypnosis session like the Knights in “The Natural” just so they have to waste their own time as badly as they’re wasting ours.

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  10. dmick89

    Edwin,

    That was a popular thing to say when the farm system was still good. They’ve got no pitching and not a whole lot of hitting either. They do look best at the low minors level, but that’s part of the 5-year rebuilding plan they’ll have to put themselves in because they suck ass this year.

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  11. EnricoPallazzo

    if the cubs scored 5 runs per game against the padres, that would actually reduce the padres’ RA for the season. the cubs scored 5 runs in the whole series. that’s…not good.

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  12. dmick89

    I expected a lot from Schwarber, but the guy probably needs to go to Iowa. Not even sure he’s deserving of hitting in the 8th spot (that spot is too crowded).

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  13. Rizzo the Rat

    All I’ll say is, I’d be taking this season a lot harder if last year’s game seven had ended differently.

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  14. Berselius is too lazy to login

    I forgot that this was a day game. Great work, subconscious!

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  15. Perkins

    Rizzo the Rat:
    All I’ll say is, I’d be taking this season a lot harder if last year’s game seven had ended differently.

    This is pretty much where my head’s at. This season is baffling so far, but not as infuriating to me as it probably should be.

    It will only be infuriating if the Cardinals win the World Series.

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  16. Edwin

    what everyone needs to do, is to take a deep breath, calm down, and start preparing their bodies for the Thunderdome. That is the new law.

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  17. dmick89

    Perkins: This is pretty much where my head’s at. This season is baffling so far, but not as infuriating to me as it probably should be.

    This season has started to piss me off. I’d probably have been pissed off sooner if they hadn’t won the World Series last year, but what really gets me now is two things: the Cubs did nothing this past offseason and more importantly, the Cubs future looks a lot less bright. I have no doubt Rizzo will rebound. Despite a .206 BABIP, he still has a 114 wRC+. He’s on pace to be a little better than average (probably around 2.5 wins or so if he kept up his current pace). He won’t do that. He’ll have a higher BABIP and his end of season line will look a bit low compared to past seasons, but he’ll be fine. I’m much less confident about Contreras and especially Schwarber. Addison Russell has never been a good hitter, but he’s taken it to the extreme this year and his power is gone. So is his ability to throw.

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  18. dmick89

    I’m not advocating it, but one could seriously look at this roster (especially the pitching) and make a case that the team needs to a seller at the deadline. If they’re sitting at or near .500 at the deadline, I probably would advocate being a seller (Arrieta who seems to have reverted back to being an Oriole, Lackey, Davis, Rondon and Strop should all probably be available). You can’t trade them all if that happens, but some of them.

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  19. Perkins

    dmick89,

    I actually wouldn’t hate seeing them sell if they’re still this mediocre close to the trade deadline. They’d be doing basically what the Yankees did last year, except with a (theoretically) more talented core. Given that Arrieta has about a zero chance of sticking around, I’d love to see what a desperate team pays for him.

    Better still would be the Cubs’ getting their shit together and playing anywhere close to their true talent level.

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  20. dmick89

    Perkins,

    I still wouldn’t mind trading Arrieta even if the Cubs turn it around. It would require Arrieta turning it around for him to be valuable, but if they do start playing well, he’s probably going to be a part of the reason why.

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  21. Rizzo the Rat

    Willson is hitting close to his projections now, which of course is worse than his actual numbers last year, but good enough to be a valuable catcher.

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  22. Wenningtons Gorilla Cock

    Edwin:
    what everyone needs to do, is to take a deep breath,calm down, and start preparing their bodies for the Thunderdome.That is the new law.

    Again with the Thunderdome. Can’t we just get…Beyond Thunderdome?

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  23. Perkins

    Edwin:
    If the Cubs get swept by the Cardinals this weekend, will Bleacher Nation still exist come Monday?

    I’ll take a wait-and-see approach.

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  24. Edwin

    So the Cubs basically now need to play .600 ball the rest of the way in order to reach 90 wins. I think that’s doable, and I think they could probably win the division with as low as 86 wins (which would mean playing .555 ball the rest of the way), but I’m worried about how much they’ll have left in the tank once they get to the Playoffs. They’re also at that point now where a major injury to someone like Lester or Bryant could seriously hurt their playoff chances.

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  25. dmick89

    Edwin, I wouldn't say no chance of 90 wins, but I think the best this team can hope for is 84-86 wins. If that turns out to be good enough for the playoffs then that's great. If it turns out to not be good enough then they need to consider selling some pieces by the deadline.

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  26. uncle dave

    We’re gonna be so bad that the league will probably go back and take away some of the games we’ve already won.

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  27. Edwin

    Holy Crap that was a terrible strike call on Schwarber. 3-0 gimme call. And then he strikes out, should have been a walk. This is Cubs baseball.

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  28. Perkins

    Either this strike zone is really awful or the Statcast data feeding the automated zone is poorly calibrated.

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  29. cerulean

    Berselius:
    Hopefully the Cubs aren’t just setting themselves up for a sixteen inning loss

    dmick89:
    So this is where the game goes 16 innings and the Cubs lose.

    21 innings would be optimal—Rizzo and the Cards’ D disagrees—that way we could hear Ryan Dempster three times.

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  30. uncle dave

    For those of you who had “Heyward is our best hitter” in the pool, please step forward and collect your winnings.

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  31. cerulean

    The Cubs have gone 34 innings straight without putting up a crooked number. I think if they get to 57, they win a million dollars. #beatTheStreak

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  32. cerulean

    I think it’s a foregone conclusion that the Cubs won’t be able to score off Cy Leake, but they have an outside chance of winning the series against Wacha.

    Really!? A Sunday night game!? Cubs lose.

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  33. Rizzo the Rat

    Catching up on the game now. Yay Cubs win and all that, but I can’t believe Maddon allowed Lackey to hit in the bottom of the seventh, only to pull him at the top of the eighth.

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  34. dmick89

    cerulean,

    Every pitcher is Cy against the Cubs except those who have actually won the award. Those are the games we get a glimpse of how good they could be if they didn’t suck against all the other pitchers.

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  35. Berselius

    Rizzo the Rat,

    For what it’s worth, he had pretty much burned his entire bench the inning before. He still could have pinch hit Javy, but maybe he was saving his last bullet for a potential situation with RISP in extras.

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