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The Chicago Cubs enter game three of their series against the San Diego Padres with the smallest bit of breathing room in the National League Wild Card race. The Cubs will hand the ball over to Cole Hamels, who gets to pitch in his hometown. On the other side stands Padres starter Chris Paddack, a formidable rookie right-hander looking to maintain momentum on the mound.
Padres look to play spoiler
The Padres are limping through the final month of the regular season. They lost Fernando Tatis Jr. earlier this month to a back injury, which depleted an already struggling offense. San Diego is second-lowest in the league in runs scored, and there’s little reason to believe they’ll break out against a pitcher like Hamels.
Playing at Petco Park doesn’t give the Padres much of an advantage this season, as their home and road records are practically identical. San Diego hasn’t scored five or more runs at home since August 14 (a 7-2 win over Tampa Bay).
Chris Paddack caps off his start with strikeout No. 8️⃣ on the night.
His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO.
— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) September 5, 2019
Chris Paddack will start on the mound for San Diego. The 23-year-old rookie is having a solid season with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He’s allowed just one earned one in his pat 12.1 innings. However, in the start before that against Philadelphia and Boston respectively, he allowed a total of 10 earned runs combined and took losses in both outings. A potent, motivated lineup like the Cubs could get to Paddack early.
Eric Hosmer leads the Padres in batting average and RBIs but has been in a slump as of late. With Tatis Jr. in the lineup, San Diego’s offensive output has taken a major hit in the past few weeks.
Cubs aiming to expand Wild Card lead
The Chicago Cubs enter Wednesday night with a slight lead for the second spot in the National League Wild Card standings. Chicago needs to capitalize on playing an inferior league opponent such as the Padres. The Cubs haven’t played well on the road this season, but won the series opener in a convincing 9-0 rout. Can Chicago replicate that kind of offensive success in the third game of the series?
Chicago’s infield is banged up, and it’s possible that Joe Maddon could give either Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, or Javier Baez some rest. Fortunately, Chicago is getting production elsewhere in the lineup, including Nicholas Castellanos, who has been a tear recently. Since being traded from Detroit to Chicago, the right fielder is batting nearly .350 with 14 homers.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 10, 2019
The Cubs will go with Cole Hamels on the mound. Hamels, a San Diego native, has plenty of late-season, big-game experience. However, he’s been roughed up of late, going 1-4 in his last five decisions. This is the only time this season that Hamels will face the Padres.
- 5-2 in past seven home games against NL Central opponents
- 6-3 in past nine Game Three of series
- 6-2 in past eight games started by Chris Paddack where offense scores three or more runs
- 1-4 in past four Cole Hamels starts
- 2-4 in past six Cole Hamels road starts
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Padres will spoil the Cubs chances at gaining ground in the Wild Card standings while ruining Cole Hamels return the home. Why? Hamels just doesn’t have his stuff down the stretch of the season. At 35 years old, Hamels’ arm is wearing down from another long season grind, and that’ll be to the Padres advantage.
Prediction: Padres -105
Full-Game Total Pick
Neither team is hitting the ball well of late. With a pair of pitchers boasting sub .400 ERAs taking the mound Wednesday night, you can expect that this will be more of a pitcher’s duel in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.
Prediction: Under 8