Cubs ready to step up in competition with Padres, Giants looming
The Cubs have been rolling for most of this month, but they'll get a strong test over the next 10 days.
The next three series will be against the teams with the best records in the National League as of Sunday morning. San Diego visits Wrigley Field for a three-game series, before the Cubs head west to play four in San Francisco and three in San Diego.
"Sure, it's a tough schedule," Cubs manager David Ross said. "If you look at run differential, the top three teams are in the West and it will be a nice test. But I feel like you kind of go through that throughout the season. It's always like momentum and how they're playing and how you're playing. I feel there's a lot of different ways to look at that."
So far, the Cubs have played 32 of their 52 games against teams that currently sport losing records. But they've risen to the occasion against good opponents, sweeping the Dodgers and Mets, and winning two of three in St. Louis.
"I would say we're not full strength, so I'm not going to take a full look at, 'Can we compete with this team or not,' without being fully healthy," Ross said. "I think it swill be a good test for us. I think it will be a good test to show us where we need to continue to grow, how we measure up, where they might try to take advantage of areas."
The Cubs won't see former teammate Yu Darvish in the upcoming series, since he pitched Saturday in Houston. Monday's game was originally supposed to be a matchup of ex-Pirates with Trevor Williams taking on Joe Musgrove. But Musgrove came on in relief of Blake Snell on Sunday against the Astros, so now the Padres will start Chris Paddack and the Cubs are undecided after Williams had an emergency appendectomy Sunday.
Likewise, Cubs pitcher Zach Davies threw on Saturday, so he won't match up against his former team in the upcoming series and didn't want to make a big deal out of it anyway. Davies only spent one season with the Padres.
"To me, it's baseball. It doesn't really matter who I face, it doesn't matter who's in the box," Davies said. "I'm going to go out and pitch to my game plan.
"If guys have questions (about the Padres), I'd be more than happy to tell them what I see and what I feel with guys. But at the end of the day, we've got an R&D department, we've got a scouting department that goes through game plans and goes through hitters constantly. We watch video, we do our homework. So guys pitch to how they're going to pitch. I'm confident in those guys."