After a convincing win last night to even the series, the Padres will put their All-Star on the mound for the deciding game. The Cubs will counter Tyson Ross with Edwin Jackson, who sports a record of 5-10 (basically meaningless) and an ERA over twice that of Ross's (considerably less meaningless).
Furthering what I just noted parenthetically about pitchers' win-loss record being a bunch of nonsense, Ross is 2-4 over his last six starts despite pitching at least six innings every time and never allowing more than two earned runs. His 1.47 ERA in that span dropped his season mark over half a run, from 3.27 to 2.70. A win tonight would be both his and his team's second in a row; TyTy took the W his last time out, shutting the Mets out on four hits over seven innings while finally getting some run support.
Remember when a fair cross-section of Padres fans got all up in a lather when the Padres didn't sign Edwin Jackson before the 2013 season? And remember when we laughed at them when he was horrendous last year? Well, he's been even more turdcore this season. He's been the antithesis of Ross, basically. While Ross's last six games were a picture of good getting better, Jackson's last six games have been a shart dripping farther down a jogger's leg with every stride. He did manage to hold the Red Sox to one run in six innings on the first of the month, but he's pitched fewer innings and allowed at least three, and as many as nine, earned runs in his other starts.
The Cubs are currently 41-58 (.414) and the Padres are 44-56 (no calculator needed), so whoever loses this game will be one step closer to a sweet-ass draft spot next year. On the other hand, winning is fun, and it's double the fun when I get to give my friend Shane grief about the Padres beating his Cubs just like they did three out of five times in the very same October he was born. Normally in a rubber match you want your team to 86 the other squad, but in the case of the Cubs, I'm fine with '84-ing them.