The Padres have announced their Opening Day starter for the 2020 season.
In a press conference on Monday ahead of the exhibition with the Los Angeles Angels, Padres rookie manager Jayce Tingler announced that Chris Paddack would be the Opening Day starter when the Friars take the field at a fan-less Petco Park on Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 20, 2020
This certainly comes as no shock for the astute Padres fan. Paddack had one of the strongest campaigns by a Padres rookie starting pitcher in 2019, with a 3.33 ERA, 127 ERA+, and 2.9 WAR in 140 2/3 innings pitched and before things came to a screeching halt during Spring Training in March, he was looking even better.
There was minor debate during Spring Training and Summer Camp on whether or not it would be Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, or Garrett Richards to take the hill in the opening game of 2020. Lamet is gaining steam as one of the more underrated starting pitchers in the game after his 12.95 strikeouts per nine innings last year, which was third-best among starters with at least 70 innings pitched. He got a late start in 2019 after recovering from Tommy John surgery, but like Paddack, Lamet’s shackles will be coming off this year.
As his two teammates atop the starting rotation, Richards is now two years removed from Tommy John surgery. It seems the team wants him to get his feet wet in regular-season games before pushing him higher in the rotation or throwing out lofty expectations. However, Tingler also made known the rotation for the entire opening series with the Diamondbacks, with Lamet getting the nod Saturday night and the veteran Richards taking the hill in Sunday’s finale.
#Padres manager Jayce Tingler announces his starting rotation for the Opening Series:
Game 1: Chris Paddack
Game 2: Dinelson Lamet
Game 3: Garrett Richards
The 4th and 5th starters are still to be determined.
— 97.3 The Fan (@973TheFanSD) July 20, 2020
Having three Tommy John surgery alums atop the rotation brings a cautious optimism to the Friar Faithful. On the one hand, one would like to think that their significant health issues are behind them, having rehabbed diligently from the primary operation. However, that also brings warning that they have broken in the past, and nothing is a guarantee, as we all should know in the year 2020.
This rotation has a chance to be one of the strongest the Padres have had in several years, assuming they stay healthy.
Assuming they are healthy, the Padres should be feeling good about opening any series with Paddack, Lamet, and Richards taking the hill. That’s a recipe for a series win and starting on a good foot in this sprint, not marathon, of a season in 2020.