The San Diego Padres return home from a horrible road trip where the team lost four of five games. The fact the team lost was not the issue, it is how they managed to lose each game. You could make a case that the Padres could have won each game in the trip, but in the end failed to do so for multiple reasons.
Andy Green is upset, and rightfully so, as the Padres are not learning from their mistakes. That is very frustrating for the second-year manager, whose intensity is worn on his sleeve.
The Milwaukee Brewers come to town to kick off a seven-game home stand for the Friars. Some home cooking may help eliminate some of the mistakes the young ball club has made so far in their first 40 games of the 2017 season.
Milwaukee is 21-17 on the season and playing decent baseball.
They currently stand one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the N.L. Central.
The Brewers have won three straight and seven out of their last 10 games.
With 63 home runs as a team this year, the Brewers lead all of Major League Baseball. Eric Thames is a reason for that, as the former KBO slugger has had a great return to the major leagues. The team hits the long ball, but they also strike out as well with 352 on the year (good for third worst). They are very much an all-or-nothing team with the sticks.
The Padres’ pitching staff will have to be careful with Thames and the middle of the Brewers’ order. Maurer, Hand, Buchter, and company will be called upon late in games and they must not add fuel to a potential fire. The bullpen is supposed to be a strength to this team. The Padres cannot afford further failures from this unit.
At the same time, the Brewers pitching staff is not dominant by any means. The young Padres hitters will have their chance to score runs. They must capitalize on that. Hitting with runners in scoring position is vital for success. The past failures have much to do with the fact the team continues to make easy outs when they have runners on base.
Players to Watch
The Padres’ young star has had a decent offensive year in 2017, even though he continues to fail to take a walk. His plate discipline is suffering, but he is making up for that by driving the ball. He is further developing as a hitter, and once he figures out the patience part of his game, he will be unstoppable. Myers has the ability to use the whole field and cannot be victimized by pitchers on the outside of the plate. Myers is hitting .400 (8-20) lifetime off the four Milwaukee starting pitchers, so he should be in store for some decent offensive production.
What can be said about this phenom? He was a seventh-round selection by the Blue Jays in the 2008 draft out of Pepperdine University. He made it to the pro team at the age of 24 in 2011, hitting .262 in 95 games and 362 at bats. He struggled to get any at bats after that season and was dealt to the Mariners and played for a time in the Orioles’ minor league system. After the 2013 season, he struggled to find a home and ended up signing a contract in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization). He played three seasons for the NC Dinos, hitting 37, 47, and 40 home runs while playing overseas. Thames also put up a .349/.451/.721 batting line in 390 games. Those numbers earned him a three-year/$16-million dollar deal from the Brewers. It has paid immediate dividends as Thames is hitting .315 with 13 bombs and 25 RBI in his first 35 games. The left-handed slugger is dangerous. Expect Brad Hand, Jose Torres, and Ryan Buchter to have many opportunities to battle against him late in the game.
Matchup to Watch
Padres bullpen vs Brewers
Brandon Maurer has looked shaky this year and he and the other members of the bullpen will be key in this series. It is no secret that the Padres’ starting staff is a weakness for the team. They cannot be expected to go seven or eight innings every game. With that being said, the Friars middle relievers must step up. Maurer, Hand, Buchter, and company will be busy this series as the Padres are right in the middle of a stretch of 14 games in 14 days.
The Padres will need to fight in order to earn a split in this series. Milwaukee is no pushover and its unlikely that the young Padres squad will play mistake-free baseball. The Padres’ bullpen will be vital for success in this series. The starting staff for the Friars should be able to keep the team in the game, but the bullpen will be key. Middle relievers like Miguel Diaz and Jose Torres will have huge moments in this series. If the defense can step up and the mental errors are contained, the Padres can earn a split or even take the series. If not, its gonna be a long four games at Petco.