The Cubs have looked good coming out of the gate in the second half, winning five of six that included finally taking a series against the pesky Reds. The pitching has been particularly effective, as Chicago has had a quality start in each of the last six games.
The Cubs finish their nine-game homestand with three against the San Diego Padres. The rebuilding Friars are definitely trending upward in 2019, especially on offense. Major free-agent prize Manny Machado is having a typical productive year, but the real story is the young hitters. Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe, and Fernando Tatis Jr. are having huge seasons.
The Pads’ pitching has not been as effective and the rotation, outside of talented rookie Chris Paddack, has been inconsistent all season. Kirby Yates has been the best closer in baseball in 2019, but the rest of the bullpen has not been nearly as good as Yates.
Despite all their improvement, the Padres have recently slumped and sit below .500 at 45-50 and are likely still a year away from contending. The Cubs have to keep up their solid play of late and keep building momentum. Just like the Reds and Pirates, the Man Diego Machadres will not go down easy like a team in tank mode.
This is a chance for the North Siders to turn a good set of games at Wrigley into a great one. Let’s see if they can make it happen.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, July 19 at 1:20pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and MLB Network (out-of-market)
- Saturday, July 20 at 1:20pm CT on ABC-7
- Sunday, July 21 at 1:20pm CT on WGN
What to Watch For
- The Padres got walked off Thursday afternoon in Miami and have a quick turnaround for a day game on Friday, so fatigue may be an advantage for the rested Cubs.
- Kris Bryant has hit three homers in the last week to drive a 1.243 OPS over that stretch. He’s just a wee bit hot at the moment.
- Jason Heyward is also hitting .375 over the last week with an OPS at an even 1.000.
- Quintana has now made three consecutive quality starts as he rediscovers his early-season form.