Padres welcome pesky Pirates for three games

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Credit: USA Today Sports

San Diego Padres vs. Pittsburg Pirates series preview. 

The San Diego Padres are just over a month into the 2021 season following a weekend series win against the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants.

In that month, the Padres have produced many noteworthy performances, including the franchise’s first no-hitter, an energetic series win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles, and a dramatic replay reversal that erased a San Francisco grand slam that held a significance far more important than just the runs that wouldn’t be.

What the Padres haven’t produced, however, is a consistent stretch that breaks their up and down beginning that seems to be plaguing the team more significantly than one might expect from this talented team.

Some of this can be attributed to performance-related inconsistencies up and down the lineup, while a significant portion can easily be traced to injuries sustained throughout the roster.  The list of players that have had injuries affect their availability at the seasons’ offset is long enough to discourage a supporter of the team.

With all that said, however, the San Diego Padres are 16-13, having won six of their last nine games against NL West opponents.  Though beat up, there is certainly no lack of confidence among the players and coaching staff.

San Diego will look to carry that mindset and momentum forward as they begin a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday night at Petco Park.

Pittsburgh comes in at 12-15 after being swept over the weekend by the St. Louis Cardinals.  While the visiting Pirates arrive with a losing streak that dropped them in the standings, they are not a team that San Diego can afford to take lightly.

The Padres shouldn’t need reminding of that fact since it was just three short weeks ago that the Padres visited the Pirates after a strong start to the season, only to split the four games, halting the momentum built before the visit.

Game one will feature San Diego’s newly promoted right-hander Miguel Diaz, making his first appearance of 2021.  Diaz’s presence was necessary due to the fact three regular starting pitchers, Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, and Ryan Weathers, nursing different physical ailments.  The 26-year old Dominican will face off against Pirates’ lefty Tyler Anderson.

Anderson has been a consistent presence for the Pirates early on, holding opponents to three runs or less and lasting at least five innings in all five of his outings, one of which came at the expense of the Padres last month.

Game two will feature Pirates’ right-hander Mitch Keller who owns a 1-3 record along with an ERA of 8.20.  It is still unclear who will take the mound for the Padres in Tuesday’s game two, with plenty of speculation swirling around the opening.  It could possibly be filled by Lamet or Weathers, depending on their health improvements, while there is plenty of reason to believe it a good time to debut prized prospect, MacKenzie Gore. As of right now, though, the spot remains vacant.

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The series finale will take place Wednesday evening and will feature Pirates right-hander JT Brubaker (2-2, 2.63 ERA) against Padres’ ace Yu Darvish.  Darvish is coming off one of, if not the, most dominant performance of the season, finishing with 12 strikeouts and a single earned run over 6.1 electric innings.

The series will consist of night-time starts; Monday and Tuesday games begin at 7:10 PM, and Wednesday’s finale starts at 5:10 PM.

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