The Cubs (52-44) take on the Padres (46-50) in a three-game set of matinees at Wrigley. The Padres are a thoroughly mediocre team, but they've played streaky ball since early June and have jumped up and surprised both the Dodgers and the Brewers during that time with three wins against each. The streaks have run both ways, as they've also gone through four losing streaks of at least three games during that period. This will be the first time the Cubs face them in 2019. Since last year, they've added Manny Machado. He's been good for them so far, albeit with a slightly lower than usual batting average for him. But rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. has been the offensive star, offering power, speed, and (thanks to a .430 BABIP) a high average. Hunter Renfroe also seems to be enjoying 2019--he just recently passed his previous single season high in homeruns and now sits at 27. Kirby Yates is enjoying a banner year out of the bullpen, leading the pitching staff in fWAR, striking out 14.36 per 9 innings and generally going untouched by the 2019 homerun boom. See below for game-by-game matchups.
Game 97, Friday, July 19, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP Jon Lester (9-6, 3.74 ERA)
SD: LHP Eric Lauer (5-7, 4.04 ERA)
Lester earned his ninth win against Pittsburgh with a 6.2 innings and three earned runs allowed. Eric Hosmer is 6-19 with a homer off of him. Wil Myers is 2-16 with eight strikeouts.
Eric Lauer went 6-7 with a 4.34 ERA in his 2018 rookie season. This year he's improved most of his peripherals a touch, lowering walks and homeruns and boosting his groundball rate, but sacrificing some strikeouts along the way. Most recently, he pitched six innings and allowed two runs, one earned, in a no-decision against the Dodgers. The Cubs went 5-10 off of him in an abbreviated start on July 15 of last year.
Game 98, Saturday, July 20, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: LHP José Quintana (7-7, 4.21 ERA)
SD: LHP Joey Lucchesi (7-4, 3.92 ERA)
Quintana has won three games in a row, allowing six earned runs in 19 innings. He's allowed zero homeruns during that stretch. Ian Kinsler is 15-48 with two homeruns off of him. Hosmer is 13-71 with 14 strikeouts. Machado is 3-15.
Joey Lucchesi is the second sophomore starter working against the Cubs in this series. He went 8-9 last year with a 4.08 ERA, striking out more than a batter per inning along the way. This year the strikeouts are down to 8.55 per nine innings, but he's also giving up slightly fewer homeruns. He got a no-decision in last start against Atlanta, pitching five innings and allowing two earned runs. He pitched 5.2 innings at Wrigley last August and current Cubs went 7-21 in that start. Javy went 2-3 with a homerun.
Game 99, Sunday, July 21, 1:20pmCDT
CHC: RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-7, 3.46 ERA)
SD: RHP Cal Quantrill (2-2, 4.21 ERA)
Hendricks last went six innings and allowed two earned runs against the Reds, looking recovered from the shoulder issues that sent him to the IL briefly. Current Padres ar 15-57 off of him with 13 strikeouts.
Cal Quantrill has made 8 starts and appeared out of the bullpen four times in this, his rookie season. He features a mid-90s fastball and a plus changeup. He got a no-decision in his last start, going six innings and allowing no runs to Atlanta. He had been pitching out of the bullpen for the last few weeks of June but returned to the rotation in July. No current Cubs have faced him.