Over the course of 162 games this season, the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs will play each other six times — in the span of 10 days.
On May 31, the Padres were opening a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Now the Cubs open a three-game set in San Diego on Monday.
The Cubs can only hope history repeats itself. The Padres, meanwhile, are hoping to put the past week — actually eight days — in the rearview mirror.
The Cubs swept the Padres in Chicago, outscoring San Diego 17-6. The three straight wins shot the Cubs past St. Louis into the National League Central lead, although three losses in four games in San Francisco allowed the surging Brewers to catch Chicago for the division lead.
The Padres, on the other hand, are 2-6 over the last eight games, a slump that followed a 13-2 run that shot San Diego to the top of the National League West standings. Now they again trail the Giants.
The series opens Monday night with Cubs right-hander Adbert Alzolay (4-4, 3.62 ERA) facing Padres left-hander Ryan Weathers (2-2, 2.06). Both pitchers made starts in the last Cubs-Padres series, but didn’t face one another.
Alzolay started the series finale and held the Padres to a run on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts over five innings to earn the win.
Weathers, a rookie, started the middle game for the Padres and took the loss in his worst outing of the season, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in five innings.
Alzolay has a 1.53 ERA in his last three starts, with 19 strikeouts against four walks in 17 2/3 innings.
“I like what we’re seeing,” Cubs manager David Ross recently said of Alzolay. “He goes hard. His stuff plays, although he’s briefly had a lapse in focus at times. The changeup is a great tool. He has the stuff.”
The four runs Weathers surrendered to the Cubs — on a pair of two-run homers by Patrick Wisdom and Willson Contreras — doubled the highest amount he had given up in any of his first six starts.
What concerns Padres manager Jayce Tingler these days is not Weathers, but his team’s offense — or the lack of it.
“We’re a top five offense and we’re not scoring runs,” Tingler said Sunday after the Padres dropped a second straight home game to the New York Mets immediately after a franchise-record 12 straight home wins.
In those two games, started by Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman, the Padres scored two runs (one earned) on 11 hits in 18 innings. At one point, going back to Friday’s game, the Padres went 15 straight innings without scoring — twice failing to score with the bases loaded and one out.
Over the past eight games, the Padres scored 18 runs on 52 hits.
“That’s not us,” said Tingler. “We’re not getting the big hit with runners on.”
What the Padres lack is Wisdom. Called up from the minors on May 25 to plug another hole on the injury list, Wisdom, who was raised a two-hour drive north of San Diego, is 14-for-34 overall with seven homers. And in the three games against the Padres last week, Wisdom went 6-for-12 with three homers and four RBIs.
–Field Level Media