Padres Series Preview: Padres Take On Pirates at PNC Park

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Credit: Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
Credit: Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

After wrapping up a series against the Phillies the San Diego Padres will now take on the other Pennsylvanian team the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Padres will start a nine-game road trip at PNC park this Tuesday. No series from this point on will be easy for the Padres, especially with the type of team they now have.

The Pirates themselves aren’t too hot either and don’t look to be making the playoffs anytime soon. It really has turned out to be a disappointing season for the Bucs. While the Padres are really no better, the Pirates are definitely a beatable team. In fact they recently lost a series to the Braves and were even swept by the Brewers recently.

If those types of teams can beat the Pirates, the Padres certainly can. The Friars have actually already beaten the Pirates earlier in the year. The Padres took two out of three games from the Buccos in April at Petco Park. That certainly was a much different Padres team than the one they have today. Nevertheless, the San Diego Padres are more than capable of taking this series. Especially when you get into the pitching matchups.

Pitching Matchups

Luis Perdomo vs Chad Kuhl 4:05 p.m.

Edwin Jackson vs Ryan Vogelsong 4:05 p.m.

Christian Friedrich vs Jameson Taillon 9:35 a.m.

Based on recent performances the Pirates definitely have an edge over the Padres. Overall though I feel like these games will present some solid pitching matchups. The first game of the series will present quite an interesting matchup. It’ll be a battle of sinker ballers between Luis Perdomo and Chad Kuhl. Perdomo has really turned himself in to one of the better pitchers the Padres have. Don’t let that ERA of over six fool you because it is not indicative of his performances. Perdomo would have a solid outing his last time out. He would go six and two-thirds and only allow three runs against the Milwaukee Brewers. The Padres would push Perdomo to the limit as he would throw a career-high 113 pitches. Perdomo would get the loss his last time out but I feel he can get a W this time. Chad Kuhl is quite the interesting pitcher who could prove to be a menace to the Friars. Kuhl has proved to be quite inconsistent this seaosn. However, he would look outstanding in his first start back in the bigs. Kuhl would throw six shutout innings against the Washington Nationals. That of course is no easy feat against an offense like that. Still I believe Perdomo and the Padres will start off this series with a W.

The second matchup of the series will bring forth another set of similar pitchers squaring off. We will see the battle of sinker ballers on Tuesday. Well on Wednesday we will see the staff veterans battle it out. 32-year-old, Edwin Jackson will take on 39-year-old, Ryan Vogelsong for the second game of the series. Both of these pitchers have actually had decent campaigns thus. Edwin Jackson has surprised a few people since joining the Padres. Again don’t let that ERA fool you, Jackson has been much better than his ERA 0f five suggests. Jackson would have a magnificent start his last time out. The German born pitcher would throw eight innings and only allow three runs against the Milwaukee Brewers. Even more impressive he would not walk a single batter  in those eight innings. Control has been an issue which Jackson seems to be improving on in each start. I do think Jackson has a good shot at taking this game. It won’t be easy against Ryan Vogelsong and the Pirates. Vogelsong has bounced around from the pen to the rotation this season. He has managed to keep a nice ERA of 3.25 in 13 games this season. He would look remarkable in his last start as he would throw six innings and only allow a run. This should be quite the nice pitching matchup to see. I definitely see our veteran having the edge in this one.

After seeing some similar pitchers go at it we will see some very different pitchers in the last game of the series. The Padres will have Christian Friedrich on the mound. Friedrich has been up and down but has found a nice spot on the Padres roster. He is definitely the type of player the Padres need to get through this season. Friedrich would play that part his last time out as he would throw seven innings. Despite giving up four runs Friedrich would actually have a very solid outing. Friedrich has shown that he is capable of throwing a great game. There is no reason why he can’t do it on Thursday at PNC Park. The thing is that the Padres will not have it easy at all with Jameson Taillon on the mound. The 24-year-old has been phenomenal for the Padres this season. He definitely has lived up to the hype. Taillon has killed it in his last five starts, he has thrown five straight quality starts. Unfortunately I do feel like Taillon will get his sixth on Wednesday. If the Padres do drop a game in this series I do feel like it will be Wednesday.

Players to Watch

Gregory Polanco

After an injury it appears that Gregory Polanco will be back in the Pirates lineup against the Padres. Polanco has proven to be the Pirates best player this season. Andrew McCutchen is having one of his worst seasons ever, but his fellow outfielders are doing quite good. Starling Marte would make the All Star Game and Polanco has been their best player. Polanco is at a very nice BA of .282. He also leads the team in homers with 15 and in RBI with 56. Make sure to keep an eye on “Coffee” in this series.

Matt Joyce

With all the struggles of McCutchen and injury problems within the team, Matt Joyce has emerged for the Pirates. Joyce has been great for the Pirates this season. He is actually doing similar and better in some stats compared to Andrew McCutchen. That of course also being in less playing time. In fact McCutchen has had 399 at bats this season while Joyce has only had 165. Joyce is hitting .273 on the year while Cutch is at .241. Joyce also already has 12 homers while Cutch is at 15. Joyce also sits on 38 RBI while McCutchen has 44. All of this being in less than half of the at bats McCutchen has had. Just imagine if Joyce had started since the beginning of the season, he’d probably be an All Star. Joyce also leads the team in OPS at an incredible .955. Matt has definitely proven to be one of the more underrated players in all of baseball. Keep an eye on him in this series as he might strike quietly.

Travis Jankowski

Travis Jankowski has always seemed to have some potential, all he needed was opportunity. Well with all the trades Jankowski is now our starting center fielder. He has definitely proven to be a valuable asset to the Padres. When you look at it Jankowski can turn out to be a premier lead off hitter in the MLB. There is certainly no doubt about that. He has always had the speed and is now showing what he can do with the bat as well. Jankowski just had a great series against the Phillies in which he would go 6-12. I believe Jankowski can have another big series. Keep an eye on Freddy at the plate or on the base paths because you just might miss him.

Alex Dickerson

A lot of people have stopped talking about Dickerson as of late. Let’s not forget this kid is still performing quite well. He isn’t quite hitting a home run in every game he plays. But he is still playing above average for the Friars. He would have a very nice series against the Phillies in which he would go 4-11 with two RBI. Dickerson would also have a home run in the mix as well. The Poway native is still showing bags of potential. I definitely believe he and the Padres will have a nice series at PNC Park. Go Padres!

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