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Game 40 Preview: 05/19 Padres vs. Cubs

James Shields looks to get the Padres back to .500 as he opens up the series at home against the Cubs.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago the Padres took two of three against the Cubs in Chicago. The two teams meet again for another three-game series in San Diego, and tonight's series opener will pit James Shields against Jason Hammel once again.

Shields is undefeated in his first eight games, becoming the first Padres pitcher to open their season with a 5-0 record since Justin Germano in 2007. He threw at least six innings in seven of his eight starts. However, it hasn't been a smooth ride lately for the right-hander. His latest outing was classic Shields - six innings, one earned run, nine strikeouts. But in his two starts prior to that he gave up ten earned runs on 15 hits, seven of which were homers, over 11 1/3 innings.

That April start at Wrigley Field was just his second appearance against the Cubs. He went six innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits and a couple of walks, striking out nine batters along the way.

Hammel went pitch-for-pitch with Shields in that game, but came out on the losing end of the battle. He allowed four runs - all earned - on seven hits and a walk, striking out five through 6 1/3 innings.

The Cubs righty is 3-1 on the season with a 3.11 ERA. He has 14 career outings (13 starts) against the Padres under his belt, with a 4-3 record and 5.06 ERA to show for it. He's pitched much better at Petco Park, going 3-1 in his five starts there while posting a 3.26 ERA.

The Padres offense, which has been shorthanded lately with Yonder Alonso and now Wil Myers on the DL, hopefully will benefit from yesterday's off day. With Cory Mazzoni recalled from El Paso in response to the Myers move, there won't be any additional offensive help coming any time soon.

Tune in at 7:10 pm PT for the rematch between Shields and Hammel.