The Padres came back from a 6-0 deficit in the first inning last night to win the series opener against the Cubs.After Edinson Volquez' early departure, the bullpen threw 8 1/3 shutout innings and the offense combined for eight runs en route to an impressive victory. They have now won five in a row at home against the Cubs and tonight they'll try to clinch their first series win since the Yankees came to town August 2nd-4th.
Southpaw Eric Stults will toe the rubber in game 2 against Chicago. At one point this season, Stults was considered by many to have become the staff ace. However, he hasn't had much luck since the All Star Break and has failed to record a win since July 14th against the Giants. Over his last six starts, the lefty is 0-3 with a 4.75 ERA. He didn't factor into the decision his last time out thanks to a Padres rally, but he gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings. It was an improvement over his start prior to that, when he gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Rockies at Coors Field. And that may have been because of his comfort level and past success pitching at home in San Diego. In 12 starts at Petco Park this season, he has gone 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA, considerably better than his 3-9 record and 4.93 ERA away from home. Stults has already pitched against the Cubs this season, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing two runs at Wrigley Field back in May. But he is a career 1-3 with a 4.56 ERA against the Chicago club, so he'll be looking to improve on that tonight.
While the Padres look for their third straight win, the Cubs are looking for just their second victory in eight tries as they send Jeff Samardzija to the mound. The right-hander got the decision in Chicago's only win over their last seven games. He pitched a six-hit complete game on Monday against the Nationals, improving to 7-11 on the season. The 11 runs of support he got from his offense surely helped, but he held his own, only giving up one run and issuing no walks while striking out five batters in his first win since July 19th. Samarzija last pitched against San Diego on April 29th this season. He gave up three runs in five innings, but struck out eight batters as the Cubs went on to win 5-3. He is 1-1 in three career starts versus the Padres, but has also recorded a win against them in relief.
The two teams will face off at 5:40 this afternoon.