The Chicago Cubs look to continue their strong start to the season when they welcome the San Diego Padres to Wrigley Field for game one of a three-game set on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 7:40 p.m. ET. The struggling Blake Snell (0-3, 6.00 ERA) will take the mound for San Diego against red-hot Cubs lefty Justin Steele (3-0, 1.44).
The Cubs are -125 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Padres are +105 underdogs. The total sits at 7.5.
Padres-Cubs picks: Tuesday, April 25
Out: RP Drew Pomeranz (flexor tendon surgery), C Luis Campusano (left thumb sprain), RP Nabil Crismatt (left hip strain), OF David Dahl (right quad strain), OF Adam Engel (left hamstring strain), RP Jose Castillo (left shoulder strain)
Out: SP Kyle Hendricks (right shoulder strain), SP Jameson Taillon (left groin strain)
Blake Snell vs. Justin Steele
Snell had his best outing of the year his last time out, pitching five innings of two-run ball against the Braves. Snell has yet to go more than five innings in a start this year, and has allowed at least two runs in every start. While Snell’s only allowed one one hit on his slider and curveball this year, he’s not fooling anyone with his fastball, as batters are averaging .404 and slugging .809 against the pitch.
Steele continues to impress, and is coming off a six-inning, one-run start against the Oakland Athletics. Steele has emerged as one of baseball’s best at limiting hard contact, and is in the 88th percentile or better in average exit velocity, hard hit rate and barrel rate. While Steele is a two-pitch pitcher (he throws his fastball and slider a combined 96% of the time), both pitches have some unique deception, as evidenced by his slider having 16.1 inches of horizontal break.
The over is the way to go. While Steele might not allow a lot of runs, Snell has yet to make it through a start unscathed. He also hasn’t been able to give the Padres a ton of depth, which means more opportunities for the Cubs to go against San Diego’s shaky bullpen, which has a 4.45 ERA as a unit.
Pick: Over 7.5
The Cubs keep rolling. I think Steele will pass a big test against the Padres lineup, while the Cubs offense (which boasts six batters with an expected batting average over .250) will get to Snell early. This game will probably get decided late because of the shakiness of both teams’ bullpens, but I’m betting on the Cubs’ depth winning out.