The Cubs (24-31) were able to partially salvage a homestand that was heading in a very negative direction by taking two of three from the team with the best record in baseball, Tampa Bay. Despite the strong finish against the Rays, Chicago went a pedestrian 4-5 during the nine-game stretch. Now they head to the West Coast for 10 beginning Friday with four in San Diego.
The Padres (26-30) are still below the .500 mark and sit 7.5 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks in the National League West. It’s frustrating for a team that many experts predicted to be both division and World Series contenders
The Friars’ offense has been particularly disappointing, with a .699 team OPS, which is 23rd in MLB. Juan Soto got off to a very slow start as did Manny Machado, who is now out with a hand injury. Soto has been much better of late and Fernando Tatis Jr. has returned from his suspension and given the lineup a boost. The home run remains a threat with this squad so they certainly should not be taken lightly.
San Diego’s pitching has been much better so far in 2023 with a 3.88 ERA, good for 8th best in baseball. The starting staff has been uneven through two months with Joe Musgrove and former Cub Yu Darvish having a couple of rough outings. Cardinals legend Michael Wacha has been the most consistent starter to this point.
The Padres’ bullpen is really their strong suit with the 5th lowest ERA in the majors, led by ex-Brewers closer Josh Hader. The Cubs took two of three from San Diego at Wrigley in late April when they were playing well, but this feels like a different animal. Winning a series against Tampa may have provided a much-needed boost of momentum, but it’ll take more than good vibes to come out on top over this road trip.
Now let’s hope for solid baseball and some good news on Justin Steele’s early departure from Wednesday’s game and subsequent MRI.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, June 2 at 8:40pm CT on Marquee.
- Saturday, June 3 at 9:10pm CT on FS1 and Marquee.
- Sunday, June 4 at 4:30pm CT on Marquee.
- Monday, June 5 at 8:10pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Mike Tauchman is hitting .355 with an .862 OPS in 12 games with the Cubs.
- Seiya Suzuki had five hits against Tampa Bay.
- Darvish allowed seven runs in less than three innings against the Yankees in his last start.
- Stroman will be trying to follow up on his one-hit complete-game masterpiece on Memorial Day.