Sorry if you’ve been on vacation for the last week or so and are just finding this out, but things are not going great for the Cubs of late. Dropping five of seven recent games against the Brewers has significantly weakened their playoff position, and it might have gotten really ugly if not for a pair of wins over lowly Mariners that were sandwiched in between the home-and-home set.
To make matters even worse, very significant injuries are beginning to mount. Javy Báez is expected to miss the rest of the regular season with a fractured thumb, Kris Bryant is battling a nagging knee injury that the team has finally been forced to admit is hampering him in all facets, and backup shortstop Addison Russell may have a concussion after being hit in the head by a pitch.
Chicago now heads out West for a four-game series with the San Diego Padres, who were hanging around the Wild Card race this summer before bottoming out. A 21-30 second half has them at 66-76 for the season and firmly out of contention. Exciting rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. was shut down for the season with a back injury, but Manny Machado is still out there.
The Padres can hit home runs, with 202 on the season that is headlined by 31 from Hunter Renfroe. The pitching is a bit hit-or-miss, especially the starting staff. Kirby Yates has had a huge year as the closer with 40 saves and a 1.26 ERA, so this isn’t a team you want to be trailing late in the game. Despite their struggles, the Pads can score runs and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The feeling around the Cubs is just not good right now and nearly every game seems like a real slog for everyone involved. A few wins can change the general malaise that has settled over the team, as will the unexpected addition of top prospect Nico Hoerner, who was just promoted Monday morning.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Monday, September 9 at 9:10pm CT on WGN
- Tuesday, September 10 at 9:10pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago and MLB Network (out of market)
- Wednesday, September 11 at 9:10pm CT on ABC-7 and ESPN
- Thursday, September 12 at 2:40pm CT on NBC Sports Chicago
What to Watch For
- Ben Zobrist has six hits and three walks in 19 plate appearances since returning to the Cubs from the restricted list.
- David Bote may get starts at shortstop if Russell misses time, but he may also be needed at third for Bryant while Hoerner mans short. Bote had three hits against the Brewers.
- Darvish was limited to five innings after missing a start with right arm tightness, a consequence of the Cubs limiting his work down the stretch. He was very good in that start allowing no runs and striking out seven.