Expert Cappers Picks
Major League Baseball
Preview
Chi. Cubs at San Diego
When: 4:10 PM ET, Sunday, July 15, 2018
Where: Petco Park, San Diego, California

Thousands of Chicago Cubs fans have taken over Petco Park during this weekend's series against the San Diego Padres, and they've had plenty to cheer about in the first two days. Chicago aims for a sweep of the three-game set on Sunday after rallying for a 5-4, 10-inning win in the opener and collecting 13 hits in Saturday’s 11-6 victory.

Javier Baez belted a three-run homer and finished with five RBIs on Saturday while Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber also belted shots to help Chicago post its 12th win in 16 games. Anthony Rizzo, who snapped an 0-for-21 slump with three hits on Friday, batted leadoff for the second straight game Saturday and went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. San Diego suffered its fourth straight defeat despite homers by Hunter Renfroe and Eric Hosmer, who went deep for the first time in 115 at-bats. The rebuilding Padres are looking for continued growth from Renfroe, who hit 26 homers as a rookie last season but enters the final game before the All-Star break hitting .241 with six blasts in 170 at-bats.

TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), FS San Diego

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Jon Lester (11-2, 2.45 ERA) vs. Padres LH Eric Lauer (5-5, 4.40)

Lester saw his seven-start winning streak come to an end last Sunday after allowing four runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings in a no-decision against Cincinnati. The 34-year-old native of Washington was named to his fifth All-Star team but will be unavailable after starting Sunday’s contest. Hosmer is 4-for-13 with a home run against Lester, who owns a 2-1 record and 2.97 ERA in five career starts versus San Diego.

Lauer recorded the best start of his young career Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers as he allowed one run and four hits with eight strikeouts over 8 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old rookie entered June with a 7.67 ERA but has posted a 2.17 mark over his last eight starts covering 46 1/3 innings. “The more success you have at the big-league level, the more you start to feel you belong here,” manager Andy Green told reporters. “He’s long past that. He knows he belongs.”

WALK-OFFS

1. The Cubs are 34-3 when leading after six innings.

2. San Diego RHP Jordan Lyles (elbow) pitched in a simulated game Saturday and could rejoin the rotation by the end of the month.

3. The Cubs placed RHP Carl Edwards Jr. on paternity leave and recalled LHP Rob Zastryzny from Triple-A Iowa.

PREDICTION: Cubs 5, Padres 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Chi. Cubs 54-38 W2 28-15 26-23 13-6 21-19 12-9 8-4
San Diego 40-58 L4 20-30 20-28 11-12 10-12 17-26 2-8
Last Meeting
Chi. Cubs San Diego
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/14/18 CHC 11 SD 6 .325 3 .997 .242 2 .839
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Chi. Cubs J. Baez .444 4 1.500
San Diego C. Asuaje .667 4 1.444
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 1 3 5
San Diego T. Jankowski 1 2 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Chi. Cubs 4.74 .293 18
San Diego 6.63 .250 17
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Chi. Cubs A. Almora Jr. .319 88 .795
San Diego J. Pirela .258 87 .663
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Chi. Cubs J. Baez 19 60 71
San Diego C. Villanueva 18 32 42
Pitching ERA Avg K
Chi. Cubs 3.55 .265 769
San Diego 4.28 .232 819