The San Diego Padres are starting a very important series against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. The N.L. West is the tightest division in all of baseball right now. Only four and a half games separate the first place Giants and the fourth place Friars.
This can be a vital series which determines whether the Padres will put up a fight in the division or not. The Giants are in very good form at the moment. They are coming off a four-game sweep against the Diamondbacks, and are currently on a five-game winning streak.
The Padres are coming off a decent road trip in which they went 4-3 against the Cubs and Brewers. The Padres looked good on the road trip, but it was obvious that the players were suffering from serious fatigue. That shouldn’t be a problem as the Friars just had an off day on Monday. Now the players should be prepared for a tough week as they will face the Giants and Dodgers.
This series against the Giants will not be an easy one. The Giants have a great team and they did manage to sweep us in that first series at AT&T Park. Although the Giants did sweep the Padres, the team did not perform bad in that series. They were totally capable of winning any game of that series. The bullpen did play a factor in a couple of those losses. That shouldn’t be a problem now as the bullpen has performed excellent since that series in San Francisco.
It’s hard to really say how the Padres will perform in this series. They beat the Cubs twice in one day, but also split a four game series against the Brewers. But if the Padres managed to win a series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, they can certainly win a series against the Giants at Petco Park. We should be in for an exciting series, that could possibly give the Padres a true identity.
Great pitching matchups for this series. First off we have the 2014 world series MVP vs the man who almost threw a no-hitter against the Mets. Madison Bumgarner vs Colin Rea. The right-hander Rea didn’t look too hot in his last start giving up four runs in five innings of work. The game was against the Cubs and the Pads still managed to win the game. Let’s not forget though that Rea came close to making history against the Mets two starts ago. If we can see that Colin Rea on the mound Tuesday, we should be in for a nice win in game one.
Next off we have Johnny Cueto vs our best pitcher Drew Pomeranz. Cueto has been very good for the Giants going 5-1 with a 2.97 ERA. Cueto also looked out of this world the last time he faced the Padres. He threw a complete game shutout and struck out 14 in that game against the Padres. The lefty Pomeranz has been our best pitcher and has better numbers than all of the Giants staff with an ERA of 1.80. Pomeranz has not allowed a single run in his last two starts and has looked unbelievable. If the Padres offense can get at least a couple of runs past Cueto we should be in for the win.
In the last game of the series we have “The Shark” vs “Big Game James”. The former Notre Dame wide receiver has looked great for the Giants on the mound this season. Samardzija is 5-2 with an ERA of 2.88 this year. Despite those numbers the last time Samardzija faced the Padres he didn’t do so well. The lanky right hander went five and two-thirds innings and allowed five runs against the Friars. For the Padres we have Mets fan favorite, pitcher James Shields. Shields had a disastrous moment in one of his recent starts as he gave up a home run to Bartolo Colon. Shields didn’t let that faze him in his last start though. Last Thursday against the Brewers Shields threw seven shutout innings and struck out nine. Overall Shields has been pretty good for the Pads this season posting a 3.12 ERA. All of these matchups should be quite decent.
Players to watch
Melvin Upton Jr. Has looked great for the Friars this season. Melvin is has gone 10-24 with three home runs in his last seven games. Melvin once processed decent power, but really hadn’t displayed it before this season. Now Melvin is up to five home runs on the year. That’s pretty impressive. Let’s hope that Upton Jr. can continue his nice streak, and provide some run support for the Padres pitchers in this series.
Brandon Belt has been one of the best hitters for the Giants this season. Belt currently has a BA of .305 with an OBP of .438. He has also belted four dingers and has driven in 22 runs. To add to it Belt has great career numbers against the Padres. Belt has a career .313 BA and an OBP of .396 against the Friars in 75 games. Padres pitchers should be cautious with the Giants first basemen in this series.
Myers was scratched out of the lineup on Sunday due to forearm tightness. It seems that it shouldn’t be a problem though. Myers hasn’t looked too hot in his recent games after a fast start. Even so Myers is still having a pretty good season batting .270 with seven home runs. The reason why I included Myers in the players to watch is because of the fact that Myers has killed it at home this year. In 19 games Myers has hit .312 with three home runs at Petco Park. A home stand might just be what the former Rookie Of The Year needs to get back on track.
Posey is always a player you have to look out for. He’s quite simply one of the best hitters in this generation. Posey is off to a decent start but nothing too intimidating. Posey is currently hitting .273 with four home runs. The thing is Posey has had nice success at Petco Park. In 40 games at the pitchers fortress Posey has managed to hit .318 with seven home runs. He is always a very dangerous hitter. If the Padres want to have a nice series, they will need to keep Posey at bay.
Jon Jay vs Giants starting pitchers
Jon Jay has had success against all three pitchers going for the Giants this series. Jay will be happy to see that he will be leading off against guys he has all hit over .300 against. Of course Jay saw a lot of Samardzija in his days as a St. Louis Cardinal. In 21 at bats Jay has hit .429 average against “The Shark”. Jay also saw a lot of Johnny Cueto in his cardinal days as well. Jay has done even better against Cueto going 13-33 with three home runs. Jay in only 14 at bats has also done very well against Bumgarner. He has six hits including three doubles with three RBI against the left-handed ace. Safe to say Jay should be due for a pretty nice series.
Hunter Pence vs Drew Pomeranz
Hunter Pence has only faced Pomeranz 11 times. In those 11 at bats Pence has only managed to get three hits. Okay advantage Pomeranz, correct? Actually no, not really. Those three hits that Pence has managed to get, have all been home runs. Including one earlier this year. Pomeranz should be extra cautious with Pence. I mean that is madness that all of your hits off someone have all been homers. Hopefully our lefty can get the upper hand on Pence and pitch a nice game Wednesday night.
Will the Padres Suffer Another Shutout?
The Padres suffered their ninth shutout of the year on Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers. This was really surprising as the Brewers statistically have the worst pitching in the majors. This was also really worrying. I mean if Junior Guerra and the Brewers bullpen can do it, who else can? Certainly the core of the Giants rotation is more than capable of doing so. Hopefully the Padres do not suffer their tenth shutout of the year. Sadly it seems almost inevitable.
How will the N.L. West Shape Up After This Series?
The Padres next 12 games are all against teams within the division. That is huge for the Friars. They can either make the most of it, or completely destroy their chances of doing anything this year. That is a scary thought. But we have to remember that the Padres weren’t supposed to do anything in the first place. The important thing is that the Friars have kept it really interesting for the fans. Let’s hope that the Padres can get a nice start to the 12 game span. The Pads are more than capable. Not only have they been playing good baseball recently, but they have been playing like a unit. Like a team. If the Padres can continue to grow this chemistry, who know how far they can go. The sky is the limit. Go Padres!