Game Thread: 08/06 Padres vs. Cubs

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 3: Starting Pitcher Eric Stults #53 of the San Diego Padres throws from the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks during their MLB Baseball Game on June 3, 2012 at Petco Park in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
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Fresh off a series win against the Mets, our Padres will try to get a win streak going as they open up a three-game set against the Cubs tonight.

Eric Stults will make his return to the rotation after a DL stint sidelined him from July 4th to the 22nd. In four starts for our Padres this season, he is 1-2. Since coming off the DL, he has made four appearances out of the bullpen. The latest was a 3.1-inning effort in relief of Ross Ohlendorf. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk, but struck out three. Tonight will be his fourth career start against the Cubs. He lost all three of his previous starts against them, pitching a combined 13.2 innings with an ERA of 7.24. The most recent of those three starts was on May 29th in Chicago, where he gave up four earned runs over 6.1 innings. Hopefully Stults can earn his first win against the Chicago club tonight and prove to be a better option than Kip Wells, who he is replacing in the rotation.

The Cubs will send Travis Wood to the mound to try to put a stop to their five-game losing streak. The southpaw is riding a streak of his own: four straight losses in four starts. Over those four starts, he gave up 24 earned runs, pitching to the tune of a 10.45 ERA. This will be Wood's fifth career start against San Diego, and he has yet to get a decision, so he will also be seeking his first career win against us tonight.

The big story in this series is the return of former Padres super prospect Anthony Rizzo. Following a disappointing and underwhelming major league callup last season, Rizzo was traded to Chicago in the offseason, and there he has put up much better numbers, making many Padres fans bitter about the trade. Furthermore, our return from the trade hasn't been as fruitful as fans had hoped since Andrew Cashner hit the DL with a strained right lat muscle. Despite the small sample sizes for both Rizzo and Cashner, fans continue to scrutinize the trade because of Rizzo's initial success in Chicago and the lack of immediate payoff from Cashner. This series will no doubt result in a lot of loud opinion-sharing regarding Rizzo, so hopefully our Padres can just go out there and win so people can have something better to talk about than which team "won" the trade.

GO FRIARS!! KEEP THE FAITH!!

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