Tonight, Tuesday, August 23 at 10:10 p.m. ET, the Chicago Cubs play San Diego. The Cubs (79-45) have the best record in baseball and the second best away mark, which stands at 34-26. They are first in the NL Central. The Padres (53-72) sport the third worst record in the NL and have the fourth worst home record in the league, which is 30-32. They sit in fourth place in the NL west, 16.5 games out of first.
In a way, those basic stats and facts offer insight into the possible and probable outcome of tonight’s game. Two other items to note, Chicago beat San Diego last night 5-1 and they are 6-4 over their past 10, while their opponents are 3-7.
When the Chicago Cubs play San Diego the pitching matchup looks to be massive. Jake Arrieta (15-5, 2.75 ERA) starts for the visitors. Arrieta went through a tough July, losing three, getting two no-decisions, and not notching a win. But he is back to his old form in August, winning all three of his starts. He looks like he’s getting back to his early 2016-season form when Arrieta won nine of 11, getting two no-decisions.
Christian Friedrich (4-9, 4.69 ERA) gets the nod for the Padres. This month he is 0-3 with an ERA of 4.58. July was no better, as he lost three and got two no-decisions. His ERA last month was 6.29. More than anything, he’s lacked run support. In those six losses, the Padres averaged two runs per game.
The worry for Arrieta is the long ball. San Diego is not a bad homerun hitting team. They sit at seventh in the league with 145. That’s about average. Still, the Cubs are a better long-ball threat than the San Diego.
If the Padres can put some balls into the stands, they will have a chance in this game. San Diego’s Wil Myers (23 HR) and Matt Kemp (25 HR) are likely candidates to do some damage. But, as noted earlier, the Padres have not tended to score runs for Friedrich.
In the month of August, the Cubs are 16-4. That mark includes a wining streak of 12 games. On the other hand, the Padres are 8-12 during the month. That record includes a five-game losing streak. This month the Padres longest winning streak is two games, and that happened just once.
A major stat in this match up is Runs Scored/Runs Allowed (RS/RA) differential. The Cubs have scored 636 runs, which is first in the NL and second in the Majors. In contrast, San Diego has crossed the plate a total of 545 times this season. That’s the sixth lowest mark in the NL. Chicago has outscored them by 91 runs.
In runs allowed, the Cubs have offered up just 424. That is the best in all of baseball. The Padres’ 607 RA makes them fifth worst in the league in that category. Their RS/RA differential is -62, while the Cubs’ is +212. No team has a better differential than the team from the Windy City.
MLB Pick: Chicago Cubs Play San Diego Padres
The Chicago bats were lively last night, as Cub batters smacked three round-trippers. Look for that trend to continue and for Chicago’s pitching to come through. We like the Cubbies so much in this matchup that we’re taking them at -1.5 with a runline of -145.