After hanging on for a 2-1 win in the series opener on Friday night, the Chicago Cubs will look to sew up a series win on the road as they take on the San Diego Padres on Saturday. First pitch from Petco Park is set for 10:0 p.m. ET. Lefty Drew Smyly (5-2, 3.45 ERA) will get the ball for the Cubs, while Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.61) looks to get back on track for San Diego.
San Diego enters as -170 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Chicago the +145 underdog. The run total is set at 7.5.
Cubs-Padres picks: Saturday, June 3
Day-to-day: SP Justin Steele (forearm)
Out: RP Nick Burdi (elbow), RP Brad Boxberger (arm), OF Cody Bellinger (knee)
Out: SP Seth Lugo (calf), RP Luis Garcia (elbow), 3B Manny Machado (hand)
Drew Smyly vs. Yu Darvish
Smyly is coming off his worst outing of the year — five runs on seven hits and two walks in just 4.2 innings against the Cincinnati Reds last week — but otherwise the veteran lefty has been a godsend for a Chicago rotation in need of depth, allowing two or fewer runs in nine of his 11 starts. He does it largely on the strength of just two pitches, a fastball he keeps elevated and a curveball he buries below the zone. It sounds simple, but it’s worked like gangbusters so far, with a 94th-percentile hard-hit rate.
Darvish has hit a rough spot recently, with 14 runs allowed over his last three starts — including a seven-run implosion in just 2.2 innings against the New York Yankees last time out. The righty’s fastball command has failed him this season, causing him to rely even more on his slider to get outs, and batters are teeing off against the pitch to the tune of a .500 batting average and whopping .967 slugging percentage.
These are two scuffling offenses — the Cubs’ last four games have fallen short of this total, while San Diego has just a .690 OPS over the past two weeks — and both of these pitchers should be able to hold things to just two or three runs. Chicago’s bullpen is always capable of inflating a score late, but I’ll back the under here.
Pick: Under 7.5
San Diego’s offense has been much better against righties than lefties this year, and while Smyly has been the stronger of these two starters, Darvish has been the victim of some bad luck that I’m banking on regressing on Saturday night. After being held to just one run on Friday, expect the Padres to scratch just enough across to back their ace to a win.