Back in 1984, the Cubs were denied a trip to the World Series, courtesy of the San Diego Padres. Twenty-six years later, it’s payback time. The Padres will have to get by the Cubs to keep their playoff hopes alive.
In what is shaping up to be the most dramatic of the playoff races, the San Diego Padres find themselves 1/2 game behind the National League West leading San Francisco Giants heading into the final week of the regular season. At the same time, the Padres are 1/2 game ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the wildcard race. San Diego and San Francisco have exhanged the first place position in the NL West seven times coming down the stretch. The two teams will battle for the top spot in the final three games of the season in San Francisco. It should get interesting. Before taking on the Giants, the Padres will have to face the Chicago Cubs who have won 10 of their last 15 games.
San Diego will have their hands full. The Cubs have been playing well under interim manager, Mike Quade, and plan to play spoiler to the Padres. Don’t expect the Cubs to roll over either. The Cubs have had a disappointing season and the series with San Diego will have a huge impact on how the post-season shapes up.
The Cubs will have Big Z, Carlos Zambrano to open the four game series. Zambrano has been on top of his game the second half of the season. He has gone 6-0 in his last twelve appearances with a 1.63 era.
In September, Big Z is 3-0 with a 0.98 era in his last four starts. Carlos Zambrano has resurrected himself since his return from the restricted list. Big Z has proven to be one of the best pitchers in the National League since the All-Star break.
San Diego will send Tim Stauffer to the mound. He is 5-4 with a 1.95 era. The Padres have one of the best pitching staffs in the NL. The back end of the bullpen have been lights out. Closer, Heath Bell has converted 31 straight save opportunities. The Cubs will have to strike early and take advantage of Stauffer to avoid the late inning relievers in order to defeat San Diego. I look for a low scoring series as both pitching staffs have done well as of late.
Go, Cubs, Go! It’s payback time.