The San Diego Padres (48-54) host the San Francisco Giants for a three-game series this weekend at Petco Park.
The Padres National League West rival, the San Francisco Giants, are headed in the opposite direction of the Friars, having won 11 of 14 after the MLB All-Star break. San Diego has dropped nine of twelve games.
The Giants’ hot streak includes four walk-off wins in their last seven games. San Francisco has the edge in the season series with seven wins and five losses against the Padres so far in 2019. These recent changes of fortune shifted the dynamics in the NL Wild Card race.
The Padres are coming off a disappointing road trip, losing two of three to both the Marlins and Mets, two teams sitting at the bottom of the National League East. Hunter Renfroe (.640 OPS entering the day) and Eric Hosmer (.689 OPS) have cooled off since the break. Ian Kinsler (.440 OPS) has been benched in favor of Luis Urías, but the prospect has gotten off to a slow start with only one hit so far. Fernando Tatis Jr., Manuel Margot, and Manny Machado are carrying the Padres offense, entering the day with OPS at .899, .975, and 1.004. While Tatis and Margot went a combined 0-for-7 on Thursday, Machado went 3-4 to raise his season OPS to .856. He also has five home runs since the break.
The Padres pitching staff has also seen additions, with top prospects Adrian Morejon and Michel Baez joining the team on the road trip. Rookie Andres Muñoz debuted after the break and has given up only one hit and two walks in his first five and one-third innings, striking out six. Chris Paddack (0.71 WHIP, 12/3 K/BB) has been brilliant despite getting touched for three home runs in 12.2 innings pitched. Cal Quantrill (0.51 WHIP, 9/1 K/BB) has yet to give up an earned run after the break. Kirby Yates (1.0 WHIP, 10/0 K/BB) only tallied one save in four innings pitched but continued his dominance of opposing batters.
The Giants entered the break with a 41-48 record. Their team has gone from an OPS of .682 in the first half to an OPS of .789 in the second. They continue to hit far better on the road than at home. 69 of their 108 home runs have come on the road, and they have hit 32 home runs in already in July, five more than their previous highest output in a month.
The Giants are currently led by Poway High School alum Alex Dickerson who is hitting .405/.466/.823 in 79 at-bats. Shortstop Brandon Crawford, right fielder Mike Yastrzemski, catcher Stephen Vogt, and utilityman Donovan Solano have all contributed with .900+ OPS since the break. Crawford and Yastrzemski had only five home runs each before the break but have slugged four each since the break.
The Giants’ pitching staff is led by Madison Bumgarner’s 1.71 ERA for 21 innings over three starts (1.00 WHIP, 19/3 K/BB). Tyler Beede (1.08 WHIP, 19/2 K/BB) has been almost as good but was touched for four home runs over 20.1 innings.
Game 1: (Friday July 26 – 7:10 PM PDT) Joey Lucchesi (7-5, 4.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) vs. Jeff Samardzija (7-8, 4.08 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
Game 2: (Saturday July 27 – 5:40 PM PDT) TBD vs. Shaun Anderson (3-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.46 WHIP)
Game 3: (Sunday 1:10 PM PDT) Chris Paddack (6-5, 2.84 ERA, 0.89 WHIP) vs. Madison Bumgarner (5-7, 3.66 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
The Padres face 34-year old right-hander Jeff Samardzija on Friday night. Samardzija gave up four runs in five innings his last time out, striking out seven Mets. Left-hander Joey Lucchesi will start for the Padres. Lucchesi gave up six runs in four and a third innings last Saturday in Chicago.
The Padres have not announced their starting pitcher for Saturday’s game. The Giants will give the ball to 24-year old Shaun Anderson. The right-hander last threw against Chicago on Monday, giving up only three hits in five innings, but two of those hits were home runs.
The Padres last faced him on July 3, getting four runs in four innings, but eventually losing the game.
Sunday’s finale will feature each team’s best pitcher as Chris Paddack and Madison Bumgarner in what should be a legendary pitching battle.
Players to Watch:
Margot has been a different player as the season progressed. His walks and strikeouts by month:
March/April: 1 / 17
May: 4 / 16
June: 7 / 9
July: 13 / 9
His SLG by month:
The increased patience has paid off and the plate. As the best defender in the outfield, the Padres need him in the lineup.
Despite his .372/.469/.606 line in Triple-A, the Padres gave Dickerson only 19 plate appearances over 12 games before trading him for a 23-year old A-ball pitcher. Dickerson only put up a .476 OPS at Triple-A Sacramento, but the Giants needed outfield help and called him back to the big leagues. Dickerson has responded by hitting .405/.466/.823 over 88 plate appearances with nine doubles, three triples, and six home runs. The Giants have gone 18-8 with Dickerson in the game.