The Chicago Cubs came into this series against the San Diego Padres playing surprisingly well. Chicago has won 14-6 over their last 20 games, including a sweep of the Padres just a week ago heading into this series, and now have split two games in the Cubs vs Padres match-up.
The Padres have not been playing at the highest level of late, scoring just eight runs in a four-game split with the Mets. San Diego was able to turn it on with homers from Manny Machado and Brian O’Grady in a nine run affair in the first game of the series but only mustered one run in game two.
Wednesday will feature two star-studded arms on the mound.
For the San Diego Padres, it will be the 34-year-old right hander Yu Darvish. The Japanese right hander is having a fabulous start to the year with a 6-1 record paired with a 2.25 ERA which is tied for ninth-best in the league.
Darvish has also dealt out 84 strikeouts in just 72 innings of work.
On the other side, it’s Jake Arrieta who has gotten off to a slow start this season with a 5.26 ERA and only 42 strikeouts which is tied for 118th in the MLB.
This is the first time these two have faced each other this year.
I would expect the Padres to tee off on Arrieta in this one. At 35 years of age, Jake seems to be slowing down a bit. In his last start, he had six earned runs in an 8-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants last Friday.
Yu Darvish has only had two games where he has given up more than two earned runs this season. One was against the Houston Astros on May 29th, and the other was his first start of the year against the Reds.
The Cubs might be without Javier Baez, who is day-to-day with a right hand soreness but was available. Joc Pederson appears to be back to normal after coming off the bench with an apparent back injury.
All in all, I wouldn’t expect Darvish to give up more than two earned runs today in about seven innings of work, while you can probably expect five innings with four or more earned runs from Arrieta in this final game of the series.
Both these teams produce formidable lineups when healthy both having a .236 batting average which is tied for 14th in the MLB.
You saw the potential when the Cubs got going last night with a five-run 6th that really busted the game wide open. Anthony Rizzo had a phenomenal day driving in four runs along with a homer in just two hits in three at-bats.
Patrick Wisdom chipped in with a two-run RBI to extend the lead for Chicago. Wisdom was the NL player of the week on Monday, producing six home runs and nine RBI’s.
The problem for the Cubs is Javier Baez is an important piece to the puzzle in that he does a good job of getting on base. This is surprising due to the number of strikeouts and few walks he has, but he manages to find his way to first more often than not.
The Padres did their best, hitting in over a week on Monday, putting nine on the board after scoring just 10 runs in their last six games.
Machado will need to replicate his offensive performance from Monday, or the Padres might be 1-5 against the Cubs this year. Manny finished 0-3 last night in a game where San Diego only produced three hits.
I would confidently take the Padres moneyline at -215 solely based on who is on the mound. Yu Darvish has been fantastic this year, and I don’t see the Cubs doing much damage on him throughout the game.
Arrieta has the potential to shine but has been up and down all year. I think the Padres will bounce back from last night and find some way to put runs on the board.
I would back the spread, which is -1.5 Padres. I think that San Diego wins this one by at least a few runs.
The spread right now is eight, which is tough, but right now, I would lean towards the under. Petco Park has favored the under this season at 20-14, but there is a chance the Padres bats could get hot against Arrieta and the Cubs pen.