After the San Diego Padres snatched game two with a late rally on Wednesday night, the Friars will go for the series win over the Chicago Cubs in a Thursday matinee at Wrigley Field. First pitch is set for 2:20 p.m. ET. Seth Lugo (2-1, 2.78 ERA) gets the ball for San Diego, while Chicago counters with young right-hander Hayden Wesneski (1-1, 6.23).
The Padres are -135 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Cubs are narrow +115 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.5.
Padres vs. Cubs picks: Thursday, April 27
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)
Seth Lugo vs. Hayden Wesneski
Lugo, who spent the first seven years of his career bouncing between the bullpen and the rotation for the New York Mets, will go as his fastball and curveball go, pitches that he throws a combine 75% of the time. When he’s locating them well, he’s a solid starter (six innings of one-run ball against the Atlanta Braves, six innings of two-run ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks last week). When he’s not, though, things get ugly (three runs on eight hits in just 3.1 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers).
One of the Cubs’ most promising pitching prospects, Wesneski won a job in the starting rotation thanks to Kyle Hendricks’ injury and a sensational Spring Training in which he struck out 22 batters in 17 innings — and showed off a slider that looked like something from outer space:
Hayden Wesneski, Wicked Sliders. pic.twitter.com/3NvByRtONY— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 23, 2023
That pitch is the party piece, one that Wesneski throws a full third of the time. But as good as it is, it doesn’t matter if hitters can just tee off on the righty’s fastball — which they’ve done so far this year to the tune of an .815 slugging percentage. One glance at where he’s locating it, and it’s not hard to see why:
Wesneski doesn’t throw hard enough to get away with leaving pitches over the heart of the plate consistently, and unless he sharpens his command he’ll continue to be a boom-or-bust option.
The previous two games in this series have gone under, but I’m betting that changes this afternoon. Wesneski has allowed 11 runs in 10.1 innings against everyone not named the Oakland Athletics, and there’s no reason to think that his command problems will magically fix themselves against a still-dangerous Padres lineup. The Cubs can swing the bats themselves, so I’m taking the over.
Pick: Over 8.5
The Cubs hit lefties far better than they hit righties, and with Wesneski so hard to trust on the mound, I think San Diego gets a much-needed series win.