The Padres and Cubs might currently reside in last place in their respective divisions, but the clubs have been turning it around.
The Padres, winners in seven of their last 13, have done so on a bigger scale, coming to Chicago riding a four-game winning streak that included a sweep of the reigning World Series-champion Giants. San Diego played great baseball in that three-game set with San Francisco, getting contributions from the starters, relievers and hitters.
It was, Padres manager Bud Black said, the recipe for success.
"I think what we have to do is play the entire facets of the game. I think, overall, the last two weeks we've been doing that," Black said prior to his team's 5-3 loss to the Cubs on Monday night. "It's resulted in four wins a row. We've done some things much better than we did the first two weeks of the season. Now we just have to sustain it, and keep that going."
The Cubs, meanwhile, have struggled against teams most would expect them to -- going 4-13 against teams that had a winning record in 2012, compared to 6-2 against sub-.500 teams.
They have, however, won five of their last seven. That, coupled with returning home after a long road trip, has the Cubs optimistic for Tuesday's game when Edwin Jackson faces San Diego's Edinson Volquez.
"The overall essence of the game has been much better over the last six games," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "And now we play 16 of the next 19 at home, and that's pretty uplifting."
Padres: Quentin mashes Cubs
Outfielder Carlos Quentin is hitting .333 with nine doubles and eight home runs in 28 games against the Cubs, including a .316 mark with four homers at Wrigley Field. He also has four homers in his last five games against Cubs.
• Relievers Huston Street and Luke Gregerson were unavailable Monday because of a heavy workload in the last week, but should be available Tuesday.
Cubs: Anthony's owned April
Anthony Rizzo's first April the Majors hasn't only been good -- it's been nearly historic. The second-year first baseman enters Tuesday's April finale with eight home runs, two shy of tying Alfonso Soriano's Cubs mark for the month.
Rizzo also has 19 RBIs, the second most in April by a Cubs left-handed hitter, trailing only Billy Williams' 25 in 1970.
Sveum said Rizzo's progress has come thanks to a couple of adjustments to his swing.
"Sometimes young guys let the pitchers dictate things instead of them dictating the at-bat, and I think that was the biggest problem other than mechanical," Sveum said.
• The Cubs have seen all 25 games this season decided by four runs or fewer, a franchise record.
• Volquez has a 2.21 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs, and his team is 6-0 in those starts.
• Jackson is still searching for his first win with the Cubs.
• San Diego's Chris Denorfia is hitting .405 in 15 career games at Wrigley Field.