Padres vs Cubs Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Thursday, April 27
Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Nico Hoerner
Padres vs. Cubs Odds
-110 / -110
-110 / -110
The Padres are beginning to pick up some steam with five wins in their last seven and will send one of their more promising arms to the hill against the Cubs in Thursday’s rubber game.
Can Seth Lugo continue his run of brilliance, or might there be some obstacles in his way? Let’s break it all down in our Padres vs. Cubs preview.
The Padres, for all their wins over the last week, still can’t buy a hit at the moment. Their wRC+ over the past seven days ranks 26th in the league as they watch some of their best hitters — and some of the best in the game — continue to slip into the abyss.
Juan Soto is now batting just .178 even though he leads the league in walks has a meek .338 on-base percentage. Manny Machado is hitting .214 with a wRC+ of 50. I already some questions about this offense after the top four in the order, so to lose production from two of those four core pieces is very bad news.
It really is amazing to think about where this team would be if it hadn’t signed Xander Bogaerts over the offseason, or gotten some timely hits from 37-year-old Matt Carpenter. San Diego’s only hope right now is its pitching, and even that is standing on shaky ground.
Why? Well, Lugo has been one of this team’s more reliable starters, but some of his numbers would seem to indicate he’s going to eventually look like a back-end arm rather than a front-line starter. He sports a 4.52 xERA entering this start on account of a high 44.6% hard-hit rate and an even-higher .406 xwOBA.
The former reliever has done a good job of getting ground balls (52.3%) but with all that hard contact and a .269 expected batting average it’s not exactly like he can expect many outs via contact.
On the other side of this matchup we have young Hayden Wesneski, who’s really struggled in what the Cubs were hoping would be his first full big-league season. He’s given up far more fly balls and line drives than he did last season and has pitched to a .329 expected batting average to this point, which puts him in the bottom 3% of all pitchers.
He’s only struck out 15% of the batters he’s faced, walked 8.8%, and clearly can’t get outs by pitching to contact. It’s really a mystery as to how he’ll get anyone out the way he’s pitching.
It’s also quite stunning to see his ERA sitting close to seven runs and his strikeout rate come in that low when you consider he’s made four starts and one of them came against Oakland, where he allowed just a run over seven frames with seven strikeouts. His other rough outings came against the Reds, Mariners and Dodgers — so it’s hard to really say he’s had a very difficult draw to begin his rookie campaign.
As for the Cubs’ bats, well, they remain pretty good. Chicago is third in wRC+ to this point and seventh over the last week of play. It is 13th in hard-hit balls per swing, so while its barrel rate remains low it has been one of the more efficient teams in terms in the league.
The Cubs have struck out in just 20.8% of plate appearances and walked in 9.2%, so while their power has been absent they’ve made up for it with an onslaught of base hits and careful at-bats.
Padres vs. Cubs Betting Pick
This is not a very good matchup for Lugo, who gives up a lot of contact and has been lucky to escape his first four starts with a 2.78 ERA. The Cubs currently own a .263 expected batting average, which ranks second in baseball and they’ve been sensational in terms of situational hitting, ranking third with runners in scoring position.
Simply put, they should really hang some runs on Lugo here and bring him back down to Earth.
I’m fearful of betting on Wesneski, whose stuff is noticeably not where it was a year ago, but this Padres team has been truly awful at the plate even if they’ve found a way to win some games lately. Nick Martinez was used for 50 pitches on Wednesday and Hader 22, and the night before that Steven Wilson threw 35 pitches.
It’s certainly possible, then, that three of the Padres’ four best relievers could be unavailable, or at least fatigued, and with Lugo potentially needing a quick hook it could turn ugly for San Diego against a very good offense at home.
I’ll take the plus money here with a very trendy offense.
Pick: Cubs +114
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