Brian Lawrence (5-13, 4.86) vs. Mark Prior (8-5, 3.01)
Will the aliens that have abducted the real BLaw please return him?!? Lawrence has lost 4 consecutive decisions, his last win was against the feeble offense of the Dodgers on July 1st. He has given up a lot of long balls (21) which is incredible amount for a guy known as a ground ball pitcher. His slider has been MIA for the month and that is the root of all problems. Hopefully, BLaw, with some assistance from Darren Balsley, can right the ship.
Mark Prior has not pitched since before the All-Star break due to a contusion to his throwing shoulder. The local boy returns home. Prior, an alum of USDHS and USC has never pitched at the "Q" and hasn't faced the Padres this season. Prior throws hard, and he has a wicked curve to go with it. The Cubs will probably have Prior on some sort of pitch count. Our best chance against the young phenom is to try to work the counts, get his pitch count up, and hope he has some rust from being on the shelf.
Adam Eaton (6-7, 4.15) vs. Kerry Wood (10-8, 3.49)
With the exception of his last outing (which he still got the win), Eaton had a great July. He is showing every bit of promise that he had prior to Tommy John surgery. There aren't any Cubs that have gotten over on Eaton. If he pitches like he did most of July, this should be the best game of the three game set.
July was a tough month for Wood, especially against the big run scorers of the NL. Wood also had to have Tommy John surgery, but he has more time back than Eaton. Wood can flat out dominate, as witnessed by his 20 K game a few years ago as a rookei. Rondell White is the only Padre that has had a decent showing against Wood (4 for 10, 1 HR, 5 RBI)
Kevin Jarvis (4-3, 4.26) and Carlos Zambrano (9-8, 3.33)
Kevin Jarvis is a poised vet that has really pitched well in July. He started August in a rocky fashion, but he still was able to eat up innings. This guy is the crafty vet of the staff and he can bring the heater in the low 90s. The down side is that Sammy Sosa OWNS Jarvis (5 for 12, 4 HR, 5 RBI). So if you want to get a picture of the future HOFer doing his trademark hop out of the batter's box, this is probably your best opportunity.
Carlos Zambrano has had a tremendous season as one of the least noticed Cubs pitchers. He is very emotional on the mound. He strikes out a lot of guys, but he also walks a lot of guys. His K/BB is less that 2/1. The Padres have not faced Zambrano much, in fact only 2 guys have 5 ABs against him. Klesko (3 for 5, 1 HR, 3 RBI) and Vazquez (2 for 5, 1 RBI). The key is patience, make him throw a lot of pitches, frustrate him, his emotions can get the better of him.
Padres-Cubs Series Preview
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