Though James Shields has never pitched at Wrigley Field before, he might feel at least a little bit at home this afternoon when he makes the start in Chicago. He'll be facing his former Rays manager, Joe Maddon, who's in his first year with the Cubs, and pitching against his former Rays teammate, Jason Hammel.
It's only been a couple of starts, but so far Shields has lived up to the expectations we had coming into the season. He's kept opponents to three runs on nine hits through 13 innings of work, while only walking three batters and striking out 15. The righty has only pitched against the Cubs once in his career, giving up three runs in 6 1/3 innings of work.
Hammel, on the other hand, has seen the Padres 13 times in his career. He compiled a 4-3 record and 5.01 ERA in those 13 games (12 starts). But he'll just be a blip in the Cubs news radar today, and this series, and most people will have their eyes on newly called-up prospect, Kris Bryant.
Bryant led the majors with nine home runs this Spring, but started the regular season in the minors before being called up today. He also led the all of the minors with 43 home runs in 2014 and cemented his spot atop 2015 prospect rankings everywhere. He'll reportedly be batting cleanup against San Diego this series.
The Padres went 2-1 at Wrigley in 2014, scoring a combined 21 runs in their two wins while getting shut out in their loss. Watch for Matt Kemp this series to see if he can continue to do damage at the Cubs' ballpark. In 104 career plate appearances at Wrigley, Kemp has a .323 average, including six homers and 21 RBI.