Cubs vs. Padres Odds
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning via DraftKings.|
The Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres will conclude a three-game series Wednesday, marking the sixth meeting between the two teams in the last 10 days. The Cubs swept the three-game set in Chicago last week and the winner of this series will be up for grabs in a rubber match after the teams split the first two games.
Both games have been very lopsided, as the Padres earned a 9-4 win Monday and the Cubs took rolled to a 7-1 win on Tuesday. Zach Davies got the start for the Cubs against his former team in the most recent affair and was phenomenal, allowing just one hit in six innings.
We will now get to see the pitcher he was traded for, as San Diego standout Yu Darvish gets the start for the Padres agains his former team.
Arrieta’s Solid Start Heading South in Chicago
After starting the year looking like the Jake Arrieta of his first stint in Chicago, he has reverted back to the version we saw in Philadelphia. Through his first five starts this season, Arrieta posted a 2.57 ERA. However, over his past six starts, he has an 8.28 ERA. In his last outing, Arrieta allowed six runs and two home runs in just two innings against San Francisco.
The early success for Arrieta can likely be explained by his first five games coming against Pittsburgh (twice), Milwaukee (twice) and the New York Mets, all three of whom rank in the bottom five in the league in wOBA. Arrieta’s 5.26 ERA is actually an improvement from his 6.09 xERA and he has an xBA against of .285 and xwOBA of .380, all of which rank in the bottom 10% in the league.
Arrieta throws his sinker more than 56% of the time, as well as a slider, curveball and the occasional changeup. While his curveball has actually been terrific, allowing just a .069 batting average against, his sinker has been bad with a .300 batting average and .401 wOBA and his slider has been smoked to a .340 average and .469 wOBA.
The Cubs’ offense has been incredibly streaky, getting red hot for a week and then ice cold for another. Over the last seven days, Chicago ranks last in the league in batting average and 29th in wOBA.
The one steady player all season has been Kris Bryant, who is having another MVP-caliber season. Bryant is batting .307 this season with a .959 OPS and leads the Cubs in hits, runs and doubles. He has done that while being shifted all over the defense, playing at least 10 games at five different positions.
Padres’ Ace Darvish Gets Crack Against Former Club
Wednesday will be the first start for Darvish against his former team since he finished runner-up for the Cy Young Award in his third season with the Cubs. Darvish concluded last year with an 8-3 record and 2.01 ERA, trailing only Shane Bieber in WAR and FIP. On December 29, the Cubs traded Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini to the Padres for Zach Davies and four prospects.
It has been another fantastic year for Darvish in the beginning of his career in San Diego. He was named the Opening Day starter and has posted a 6-1 record with a 2.25 ERA through 12 starts. He has allowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts this year.
Teams are batting just .192 against Darvish this season, which would be a career best. He is actually throwing his slider a lot more this season, up to 23.1% from 15.1% last season and it has been brilliant. His slider has allowed just a .083 average against and .119 wOBA. No pitcher has a slider with a better run value than Darvish this season.
Just like Chicago, San Diego’s offense has been inconsistent. It started the year slow, got on fire and has since cooled off again. Over the last week, the Padres haven’t been much better than the Cubs, ranking just 29th in batting average and 28th in wOBA and wRC+, even with a nine-run output.
The good thing for Padres is Fernando Tatis Jr. remains must-watch baseball. He’s third in the league with 17 home runs. Over the last month, he’s batting .348 with a 1.235 OPS, a .486 wOBA and 214 wRC+ in those categories.
We just saw Davies shine against his former team and I’m expecting to see the same from Darvish. He knows this Cubs lineup well and Chicago is much better against left-handers than righties.
Arrieta has really struggled recently, and has been brutal on the road with a 7.24 ERA in six away starts. The only pitch that has worked for him has been his curveball, and the Padres are fourth in the league against curveballs.
Both teams have had a great offensive showing in the last two days, but have otherwise really struggled over the last week. However, both lineups have been very streaky, and capable of flipping the switch at a moment’s notice.
San Diego has a huge pitching advantage and its lineup should take advantage of Arrieta’s struggles and put up some runs early, then it can rely on its ace pitching and the best bullpen ERA in the league.
The Padres are rightfully a huge favorite here, so they’re unplayable on the moneyline. That said, I will back them on the run line at -1.5 (at +100 or better).
Pick: San Diego -1.5 (+100)