There were supposed two matinee matchups around Major League Baseball on Wednesday – Phillies at Reds and Cubs at Indians – to start before the Padres at Cubs series finale at 2:20 p.m. ET, but those other games were postponed by rain. That will not be an issue from Wrigley Field as Chicago looks for the three-game sweep of San Diego. The Cubs are -125 favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook MLB odds even though they will be without Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras. The Friars don't have Fernando Tatis Jr.
William Hill lists Tatis as the +300 co-favorite with Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. to win NL MVP. Tatis might be out for more than just Wednesday as the star shortstop left Tuesday's loss with right oblique tightness. The team says it was simply out of precaution, but oblique injuries can linger for weeks and if serious can land a player on the injured list for months.
Tatis already has had two stints on the injured list the season, the first because of a shoulder ailment and the second due to COVID-19. Since returning from COVID, Tatis is 18-for-43 with seven home runs and five doubles, raising his OPS to 1.069. On the season, he's hitting .293 with 16 homers (tied for third in MLB) and 37 RBIs in 39 games. Light-hitting Ha-Seong Kim (.194) is at short on Wednesday.
The Cubs' Bryant is +1500 to win his second NL MVP but is simply getting the day off as is Contreras. Bryant ranks third in the National League with 28 extra-base hits, fourth with a .996 OPS and a .598 slugging, and tied for sixth with 15 doubles. His 34 RBIs are tied for fifth with teammate Javier Baez. Bryant's 13-game hit streak was snapped in Tuesday's 4-3 win. Hard to say precisely whom is replacing Bryant in the lineup Wednesday because he plays all over the outfield, third base and first base.
Contreras (.248, 9 HR, 24 RBIs) snapped an 11-game, 43 at-bat homerless drought Tuesday with a fifth-inning two-run shot. Not a shock he is getting a day game off after a night game. Plus, Contreras is hitting just .195 against right-handers this year. PJ Higgins is starting at catcher.
It's righty Dinelson Lamet (1-0, 2.57) on the mound for San Diego. He has pitched just 14 innings due to an IL stint and not more than three in any game. Lamet is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 career innings vs. the Cubs. He has never pitched at Wrigley Field.
Chicago right-hander Adbert Alzolay (3-4, 3.81) makes his first career appearance vs. San Diego. He has allowed three runs or less in eight consecutive outings, going 3-3 with a 3.43 ERA over that stretch. The Cubs haven't swept a three-game series at Wrigley vs. the Padres in nine years (May 2012).
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