The Cubs try to avoid their sixth straight loss to the Padres this season when the teams continue a three-game series on Saturday at Wrigley Field.
The Padres (20-16) swept the Cubs (15-20) when the two teams met last weekend for a four-game set in San Diego, and have won 12 of 14 overall.
While the Cubs offense has struggled since losing Derek Lee to a broken wrist on April 19, they have scored 23 runs in the last six games after scoring just six times in eight games.
But Chicago’s pitching staff continues to struggle, posting a 7.55 ERA while the team has dropped 12 of 14.
Mike Piazza had his first four-hit game, and Dave Roberts added three hits to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. Roberts is batting .422 (19-for-45) with nine stolen bases during his hitting streak.
Greg Maddux (5-2, 3.64 ERA) will try to bounce back from two poor starts after winning his first five decisions. He faced the Padres Monday in San Diego, and lasted a season-low 3 2-3 innings, giving up seven runs and nine hits in an 8-3 loss.
“The easiest way to win a game is to shut the other team down, and I didn’t do it,” he said. “You’d like to come in and control the first five or six innings and see what happens from there. I never gave us a chance.”
In his first five starts, Maddux allowed only five runs, 23 hits and opponents hit .191 against him in 33 1-3 innings. This month, he has been tagged for 12 runs, 19 hits in just 8 2-3 innings, and opponents have batted .463 against him.
Maddux leads all active pitchers with 323 wins, and needs one more to tie Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 13th place on the all-time list.
Maddux is 23-15 with a 3.15 ERA and nine complete games in 42 starts against the Padres.
Chris Young (3-2, 3.61), who opposed Maddux and the Cubs for the first time on Monday, will face him again in this contest. The win was Young’s first since April 17.