SAN DIEGO–Chris Paddack might have finished his rookie season stronger than he started it.
The right-hander began the San Diego Padres' 4-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night at Petco Park with six shutout innings.
Manuel Margot homered in the fifth inning off Rancho Bernardo High alumnus Cole Hamels, Ty France scored on a wild pitch by reliever Brad Wieck in the sixth and Wil Myers' single off Duane Underwood Jr. in the seventh drove in the final two runs.
David Bednar pitched a scoreless seventh, and Trey Wingenter did the same over the eighth and ninth, as the Padres beat the Cubs for the second straight night.
There are indications Wednesday was Paddack's 2019 finale, as Garrett Richards is poised to make his Padres debut Tuesday in Milwaukee and Paddack (9-7) has reached 135 2/3 innings.
Paddack, who threw 90 pitches and struck out seven Cubs, has allowed one run and struck out 23 in 18 1/3 innings over his past three starts.
He began his career with a 1.55 ERA over his first seven starts and endured just a few rough starts among the 25 he has made.
By not allowing the 23-year-old to throw more than 97 pitches in any game, never pitching him on fewer than five days' rest, shutting him down for 10 days in June and giving him extra time coming out of the All-Star break, the Padres maximized the potential that their phenom could make it this far.
Paddack threw just 90 innings in the minor leagues last season, his first after Tommy John surgery in August 2016.
Everyone involved has said several times there was no hard innings limit, but several sources have said the window was somewhere between 130 and 150.
Paddack's 3.38 ERA leads Padres starters, and his 1.00 WHIP ties him for fifth in the majors among those who have thrown at least 100 innings.