Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres Series Preview

Patrick Au Yeung@@Cubs_sportsdeskContributor IAugust 16, 2010

8:05 pm ET, Monday, Aug. 16 TV: WGN, Ch4

Probable pitchers: Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 3.65) vs. Kevin Correia (9-7, 4.86)

8:05 pm ET, Tuesday, Aug. 17 TV: CSN, Ch4

Probable pitchers: Randy Wells (5-10, 4.60) vs. Jon Garland (11-8, 3.41)

2:20 pm ET, Wednesday, Aug. 18 TV: CSN

Probable pitchers: Casey Coleman (0-0, 8.64) vs. Clayton Richard (10-5, 3.80)

2:20 pm ET, Thursday, Aug. 19 TV: WGN

Probable pitchers: Carlos Zambrano (4-6, 5.27) vs. Mat Latos (12-5, 2.32)


2010 season matchups

The San Diego Padres are the only team that the Chicago Cubs have not faced so far this season. After this week’s series, they will play again in another four-game set in PETCO Park in September.

In 2009, they played against each other nine times. The Cubs won four but lost five. They swept the Padres at home in a three-game series but were then swept in San Diego. The last three-game series was in San Diego; the home team took two out of three.

The Cubs have a 12-11 (.522) winning record against teams from the NL West division. The Padres are very strong playing teams from the NL Central as well, winning 18 in 23 contests (.782).


Chicago Cubs (50-68)


The Cubs open their seven-game home stand in Wrigley Field with the San Diego Padres. Their next visitors will be the Atlanta Braves this coming Friday to Sunday before a six-game road trip to Washington and Cincinnati.

Chicago has just completed a seven-game road trip Sunday in St. Louis. They started the week in San Francisco, losing three games out of four. The only victory against the Giants was on Tuesday with a score of 8-6. All of those three defeats were one-run games including two walk-off losses.

They moved to St. Louis on Friday to open a three-game set with the Cardinals, to whom they lost the series opener 6-3. But they beat their archrivals Saturday (3-2) and Sunday (9-7) to win their first series since July 25.

Their two-game winning streak during the weekend is their first in August. They had not won two games in a row since July 23-24, an interval of three weeks.

During their series in San Francisco, the Giants acquired Cubs second baseman Mike Fontenot. In return, the Cubs received a minor leaguer named Evan Crawford. The Cubs recalled rookie Darwin Barney, a second baseman, to fill in their 25-man roster.

First baseman Derrek Lee, who missed the series in San Francisco and was inserted onto the bereavement list, returned to action Friday night in St. Louis.



Shortstop Stalin Castro’s six-game hitting streak was snapped Sunday, going 0-for-5, but his batting average has reached .314, a number that could put him among the top hitters in the National League. However, he needs to accumulate few more at-bats to qualify for the batting title. It seems very possible, as he is now the regular shortstop for the Cubs, and his No. 2 slot in the batting order is locked up.

He is also competing for the Rookie of the Year title.

Derrek Lee had a hot bat in St. Louis. He hit home runs (total of four) in each game, including two on Sunday. He's hit 5-for-11 (.495) in his last three games. 

He left Sunday’s game after the fifth inning with a back problem, but he said he would return to the lineup Monday. If not, expect Xavier Nady to play first base.

Koyie Hill has been doing a pretty good job filling in at the catcher position since Geovany Soto was placed on the disabled list last week. He has a seven-game hitting streak, including a couple of two-hit games in San Francisco. He also drove in two runs on Sunday in the Cubs' victory.

Second baseman Blake DeWitt has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games. However, he made three errors last week. Two were committed in St. Louis when he started as the third baseman, a position that he played for the first time in a Cubs uniform.



Tom Gorzelanny will start on Monday night for the Cubs. He does not have a victory in his past three outings (two no-decisions and a loss) and has given up one home run in each game. 

But he lasted more than six innings in each outing, a chance to give the Cubs bullpen some more rest.

His last victory was on July 24 against the St. Louis Cardinals in Wrigley Field.

He has only faced the Padres three times in his career, but none in the Cubs uniform. The last time was on May 29, 2007 when he was still a Pittsburgh Pirate. He won that game, pitching seven innings and giving up one run and seven hits with four strikeouts.

The last outing for Randy Wells, who will start Tuesday, was not pretty. 

He gave up three home runs, including a grand slam to Pat Burrell in the fifth inning against San Francisco Thursday. He was off the hook as the Cubs rallied in the eighth to score three runs to tie the game. If not, that would have become his fourth defeat in a row. He allowed seven runs (six earned), eight hits, and three walks in five innings pitched.

Thomas Diamond did not impress manager Lou Piniella after making three terrible starts (0-3, 8.31). Piniella decided to go with Casey Coleman to fill in the fifth spot in the rotation. 

That means Coleman will make his major league debut as a starter on Wednesday. He was called up from Triple-A Iowa on August 2 and has acted as a reliever since. 

His ERA is high at 8.64 in 8.1 innings pitched, mostly contributed by the six earned runs he gave up to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2.1 innings. 

But his latest outings have gone much smoother. His previous three relief innings were all shutout frames, one in San Francisco and two in St. Louis on Sunday. 

Carlos Zambrano will start for the Cubs Thursday afternoon. He won in his last outing in St. Louis to get his fourth win of the season. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing only two runs with seven hits and two walks.

He has good numbers against the Padres in his career. He is 6-2 with an ERA of 2.71 in 10 starts.


San Diego Padres (69-47)


The Padres are the leaders of the NL West. Going through Monday, they have a three-game lead over the second-place San Francisco Giants. It has been a while since no other teams in their division could overtake the Padres in the standings. They have been in the first position since June 18.

San Diego won five games out of six last week. They swept the Pirates at home by beating them thrice. They visited the Giants in San Francisco, where they won two out of three. The only defeat came on Saturday when they lost 3-2 in 11 innings.

After the four-game series in Wrigley Field, they will play three games in Milwaukee to finish their road trip.



Their offense is mediocre, as they rank at the bottom of most offensive categories among National League teams: 13th in batting average with .251, 11th in runs scored with 508 (one more than the Cubs), 11th in RBI with 482, and 11th in on-base percentage with .322 (one point less than the Cubs).

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez leads the team in batting average (.296), home runs (22), and RBI (74). 

He hit safely in eight straight games before going 0-for-5 on Sunday with four strikeouts facing Tim Lincecum and the Giants. He has a seven-game homerless drought. 

Ryan Ludwick is the hottest hitter in the lineup; he has hits in his last six games with three home runs and six RBI.

Miguel Tejada went 2-for-5 on Saturday and 3-for-4 on Sunday. He hit .385 during the three-game set in San Francisco.



While saying that the Padres do not have a scary offense, their pitching tops the National League in most categories. They have the best ERA (3.21) and best WHIP (1.21) and rank second in strikeouts (931) and third in saves (36).

Kevin Correia, who will start Monday night, has won his last two starts. He will be on a quest for his 10th victory of the season. His season high is 12, which he established in 2009 in his first year with the Padres.

He has three starts in seven career games against the Cubs, but he is winless against Chicago with a high ERA of 7.50.

Tuesday starter Jon Garland just blanked the Pirates and one-hit them in 6.1 innings on Thursday. But he had conceded at least a run in 13 previous starts.

Clayton Richard is the workhorse for the Padres. He has already thrown 147 innings, the most in the rotation. He has the second most strikeouts (116) among the Padres pitching staff.

Wednesday's start will be his first time to face the Chicago Cubs.

Mat Latos, aged 22, is the ace of the rotation. He will pitch on Thursday.

He leads the team in wins (12), ERA (2.32), and strikeouts (134). He has been defeated only once in his last 11 starts. The right-hander threw a one-hitter earlier this year in San Francisco, and the Padres won 1-0. 

But his lone career start against the Cubs was a disaster. On Aug. 19, 2009, he was hammered and allowed five earned runs, seven hits, and four walks in 3.2 innings. The Cubs won that game 7-1.

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