With a grueling road trip looming, the Chicago Cubs hope to take advantage of a three-game home series against the San Diego Padres starting Monday. The Padres have lost seven of their last nine road games and are 11-24 away from home.
The Padres swept the Cubs in a three-game set May 29-31 in San Diego, capping an 0-6 road trip for Chicago. The Cubs totaled only five runs in that series, but they’ve swung the bats much better since and are averaging 7.4 runs over their past five games. Chicago claimed its first road series in more than a month with a 7-1 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, getting back to .500 and staying within 2 1/2 games of first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central. The Padres have gone 6-9 since sweeping the Cubs and dropped a 2-1 decision in the rubber match of a three-game series at Milwaukee on Sunday.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, CSN Chicago
PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres LH Clayton Richard (5-7, 4.30 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Jon Lester (4-4, 3.89)
Richard has been inconsistent, but he has turned in a pair of gems over the past month. The 33-year-old allowed one run in a five-hitter May 21 against Arizona and took a shutout into the ninth before leaving after a two-out, two-run double in a 6-2 win over Cincinnati on Tuesday. Richard pitched for the Cubs in 2015 and 2016 and is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA in three starts against his former team, most recently facing them in 2013.
Lester picked up his 150th career win Tuesday against the New York Mets, striking out 10 and allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. The 33-year-old had posted an 8.16 ERA over his previous three starts. Lester is 2-1 with a 2.96 ERA in four starts against the Padres, including a pair of wins last season in which he allowed four runs over 12 innings with 12 strikeouts.
1. Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo is 18-for-44 with four home runs during a 12-game hitting streak and is 9-for-22 since moving into the leadoff spot.
2. Padres 1B Wil Myers is 8-for-22 with two homers during a six-game hitting streak.
3. Chicago RF Jason Heyward left Sunday’s game with an abrasion on his left hand and is day-to-day.
PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Padres 2