Cubs vs. Padres: Series Thread (Games 53-55)
The Cubs continued a hot streak by taking two out of three games against Cincinnati over the weekend. Unfortunately, they lost two more main cast members to unusual baseball injuries. David Bote will be out indefinitely with left shoulder injury that looked quite painful--see Cubster's comment for much more insight while everyone awaits official reports. Trevor Williams will also at least miss his start in this series due to an emergency apendectomy. The Cubs will have to do their best in this series with an emergency starter for the opening game and probably lots of Ortega, Wisdom, Sogard, and perhaps the newly added Sergio Alcantara. Those reinforcements face a tough assignment as the Cubs take on the first place San Deigo Padres (34-20). See below for the pitching matchups.
Game 53, Monday, May 31, 1:20 pm central
SDP: RHP Chris Paddack (2-3, 3.61 ERA)
As of 3 hours before the game, the Cubs have not yet announced Trevor Williams's substitute starter. They may announce a roster move bringing Alec Mills or Kohl Stewart to Chicago, or they may ask Keegan Thompson to provide a few innings on the front end of the game.
25-year-old Chris Paddack gets the ball for the Padres. He broke into the majors in 2019 and is now 15-15 in 47 career starts with a 3.72 ERA. Over his last four games, he's allowed three earned runs in 19 innings pitched. He has a plus changeup and has reverse splits this season but is near neutral for his career. Joc Pederson has faced him 14 times and is two for 14 with both hits coming as homeruns.
Game 54, Tuesday, June 1, 7:05 pm central
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 4.63 ERA)
SDP: LHP Ryan Weathers (2-1, 1.31 ERA)
Hendricks is coming off a strong month of work in which he had an ERA of 2.67 and cut his walk rate by more than half compared to April. He also provided depth, going six or more innings in four out of five starts.
Prior to 2021, the highest level Ryan Weathers had pitched at was full-season A-ball. This season, he's made the leap to the majors, making five relief appearances and six starts for the Padres so far. The 21-year-old has enjoyed surprising success in that time, thanks in large part to a .191 BABIP, a 97.1% LOB, and 0.79 homeruns per nine innings. The gap between his ERA and xERA is nearly 3.5. The Cubs will be looking to advance the cause of regression to the mean.
Game 55, Wednesday, June 2, 1:20 pm central
CHC: RHP Adbert Alzolay (3-4, 3.81 ERA)
SDP: RHP Dinelson Lamet (1-0, 2.57 ERA)
Last time out, Alzolay earned his first scorless start of 2021. He worked around five hits and three walks while striking out six in 5.2 innings pitched, and the bullpen helped him get that last out of the sixth. He continues to be nearly a two-pitch pitcher; he threw his changeup less than 2% of the time in that start and, according to pitch tracking, threw no curves.
Speaking of throwing lots of sliders, Alzolay will be facing off against Dinelson Lamet, one of only a handful of starters who relies on his slider about as much. Lamet has thrown his slider more than 50% of the time and thrived in four starts and six total appearances this season. He has not, however, pitched more than three innings in any appearance so far this year. Lamet concluded 2020 with a biceps injury and had a delayed start to 2021 due to issues with his UCL. He missed all of 2018 following Tommy John Surgery. Joc Pederson is three for ten with two homeruns off of him.