Padres & Giants set to battle at Petco Park

Credit: MLB TV

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Padres Fernando Tatis Jr.
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The San Diego Padres are set to play their second series of the season on Monday with a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants.

Game One

The probable pitching matchup will be Adrian Morejon versus Anthony DeSclafani. This will be an interesting matchup to start the series as Morejon has only thrown 27.1 innings in his short big-league career, and DeSclafani has yet to find himself at the big league level. Morejon is finally given a chance to be an everyday starter, and he is going up against a bottom-of-the-pack Giants lineup.

The 22-year old has struggled so far in his short career but has amazing stuff that plays just fine at the big league level. For DeSclafani, he has struggled in his big league career, posting a 4.29 career ERA, and is coming off one of his worst seasons after posting a 7.22 ERA. He will be facing one of the best lineups in all of baseball in San Diego, so he has a tough task ahead of him.

Game Two

The probable pitching matchup will be Yu Darvish versus Kevin Gausman. Darvish had a rough outing in his first start for the Padres, giving up 4 runs in 4.2 innings. He will be looking to regain his form from last season that saw him completely dominate with the Chicago Cubs.

Don’t be surprised if Darvish’s struggles continue, as he has a lifetime 4.91 ERA against the Giants. For the former fourth overall pick in Gausman, he is coming off an impressive start in which he went 6.2 innings and allowed only one run. He seems to have found a home with the Giants after bouncing around the league for his career. With that being said, expect Gausman to roll over his success from his previous start, especially in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

Game Three

The pitching matchup for the series finale will be Blake Snell versus Johnny Cueto, and both pitchers have something to prove. They were once regarded as two of the best pitchers in baseball, but injuries have slowed them down.

Snell had a great first outing, going 4.2 innings while allowing no runs with eight strikeouts and being pulled earlier than he would’ve liked. Snell is looking to carry over that momentum into his next start. Cueto had a good start, going 5.2 innings while allowing three runs with seven strikeouts. It will be interesting to see if what Cueto shows up this year for the Giants, as the veteran hurler has taken a step back in the past couple of years.

San Diego Padres Players to Watch for

The three players that you should watch for the Padres are Yu Darvish, Eric Hosmer, and Wil Myers. All three have something to prove this season and will be major factors if the Padres hope to make a deep postseason run. Darvish was brought in to be the number one guy and be one of the pieces to take the Padres over the hump. Although he had a rough first start, it helps that he is getting a chance to face a below-average lineup to get back on track. This will be his second start of the season, so it will be interesting to see if he made any adjustments and, hopefully, this start could be a sign of things to come.

Hosmer is in year four of an 8-year, $144 million contract. He has had his ups and downs with the Padres but got off to a hot start on Opening Day, going 3-for-4 with a home run and 3 RBIs. It will be interesting to see if Hosmer has finally turned the corner on his offensive struggles and becomes one of the Padres’ best hitters. With all the firepower in the Padres lineup, Hosmer was an afterthought. Still, if he can provide some quality offensive numbers as he did in the opening weekend, then that makes the Padres even more dangerous.

Wil Myers might be the most intriguing player on the Padres, which is saying a lot. He was once a top prospect and former AL Rookie of the Year in Tampa Bay, and all in all, Myers has failed to live up to expectations. Many thought that he was a future MVP, but unfortunately, he hasn’t put it all together.

Myers is coming off a good season in 2020, where he batted .288 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs. He got off to a solid start on Opening Day, going 1-for-3 with a home run. Myers has the capability to be an All-Star, so it will be interesting to see how he plays against the Giants, who struggle with their pitching.

San Francisco Giants Players to Watch for

The three players you should watch for the Giants are Johnny Cueto, Buster Posey, and Brandon Belt. Cueto used to be one of the best pitchers in baseball, making two All-Star teams and finishing second in the NL CY Young voting in 2014. Injuries have hampered the once-dominant right-hander’s career, and he’s only pitched in 13 games between 2018 and 2019. He looks to bounce back in 2021, and he is most likely headed into free agency after the season ends.

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Posey, the former MVP,  is not the same threat that he once was but still provides a solid bat at the end of the lineup. He opted out of last season due to Covid-19 concerns, so it will be interesting to see how he bounces back after taking a full year off. He is 34-years old and nearing the end of his prime, and the last full season he played, he batted .257 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs. The Giants have a club option next season on Posey, so this year is extremely important for him to prove that he still can be a contributor for the team.

Brandon Belt can play himself out of San Francisco this season and onto a winning team if he performs well. The longtime Giant never really fulfilled what many thought he would become, which is an All-Star caliber player. He is coming off an impressive 2020 campaign, in which he batted .309 with 9 home runs and 30 RBIs, and it seems that he might be putting it all together in 2021. If he performs well and the Giants can trade him, they can get back some young, controllable players. Keep a lookout for Belt this series, as he might become one of baseball’s most sought-out trade pieces later in the season.

The first series between the Padres and Giants looks to be a great one, highlighted by a couple of players out to prove that they can still perform at a high level.

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