Major League Baseball
Preview
San Diego at Chi. Cubs
When: 8:05 PM ET, Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois

Hope for the near future is gaining steam for the Chicago Cubs, who look for their young players to continue their hot hitting Wednesday against the visiting San Diego Padres. Slugger Anthony Rizzo smacked two homers to pad his National League lead and prospect Arismendy Alcantara also went deep in Chicago's 6-0 win in the opener of the three-game set. The Padres, who rank last in the majors in runs scored by a wide margin, have been shut out 15 times - including three in their last six games.

The reigning NL Player of the Week, Rizzo already has clubbed five homers in four games since the All-Star break - running his career-high total to 25. Alcantara, whose path to more playing time was cleared when the Cubs designated second baseman Darwin Barney for assignment Tuesday, has turned heads since being called up, and more top prospects could be on their way to Chicago if the Cubs make more moves ahead of next week's non-waiver trade deadline. The Padres already have been active in the trade market, shipping closer Huston Street to the Los Angeles Angels and third baseman Chase Headley to the New York Yankees, but they have several more potential trade chips.

TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, FSN San Diego, CSN Chicago

PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Ian Kennedy (7-9, 3.62 ERA) vs. Cubs LH Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 0.00)

Kennedy was terrific in his first three starts this month but was unable to pick up where he left off coming out of the All-Star break. He allowed four runs on six hits and walked four over five innings in a no-decision against the New York Mets on Friday, snapping a streak of three straight quality starts. The 29-year-old beat the Cubs on May 25 in San Diego and is 4-2 with a 5.80 ERA in nine career starts against them.

Wada gets his second crack at the rotation after an impressive major-league debut July 8 at Cincinnati. The former Japanese league ace allowed one unearned run on five hits over five innings in his debut and has split two minor-league starts since. He was dominant his last time out for Triple-A Iowa, striking out 10 and allowing one run and three hits over six innings Friday.

WALK-OFFS

1. The Cubs optioned 3B Mike Olt to Iowa. Olt leads NL rookies with 12 homers but is hitting .139 with 84 strikeouts in 187 at-bats.

2. San Diego INF Yangervis Solarte, acquired Tuesday in the deal for Headley, is expected to make his debut Wednesday at second base.

3. Rizzo is 2-for-13 with three strikeouts versus Kennedy.

PREDICTION: Cubs 6, Padres 4

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
San Diego 43-56 L1 26-26 17-30 10-13 9-8 16-25 8-10
Chi. Cubs 41-57 W1 21-22 20-35 14-14 16-28 6-9 5-6
Last Meeting
San Diego Chi. Cubs
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
7/22/14 SD 0 CHC 6 .172 0 .480 .324 3 1.045
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
San Diego E. Cabrera .267 4 .620
Chi. Cubs W. Castillo .312 5 .688
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
San Diego S. Smith 1 2 3
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo 3 4 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
San Diego 3.68 .206 40
Chi. Cubs 3.56 .208 38
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
San Diego S. Smith .285 78 .892
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo .283 102 .924
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
San Diego S. Smith 11 38 29
Chi. Cubs A. Rizzo 25 67 55
Pitching ERA Avg K
San Diego 3.18 .215 803
Chi. Cubs 3.87 .238 810