San Diego Padres face the San Francisco Giants at Petco

Credit: MLB

. (AP Photo/Derrick Tuskan)

The San Diego Padres will return to Petco Park following a wild 12-3 win against the division-rival Diamondbacks in Arizona to face the San Francisco Giants.  Although projected to place third in the division with a middling record, the Giants have surprised pundits by keeping up with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As of Thursday, the Giants and Dodgers have identical records of 16-9, while the Padres trail by 2.5 games at 14-12, having split the last 10 games.  The Dodgers have won only three of their past seven, while Giants poured it on, taking seven of 10.  San Francisco has succeeded despite batting .227/.305/.398/.703 overall.

Thursday’s thumping of the D-Backs gave the inconsistent Padres a boost, but one that came with a high cost.  Ryan Weathers left the game after only one inning thanks to a sore arm, and the relief corps took over yet again, working through the remaining eight innings.  Starters exiting games early has become an unwelcome refrain in the first month of the season.  With Dinelson Lamet still on the IL, the Padres may be short a starting pitcher in the foreseeable future.

The Padres currently lead all of baseball with 114.1 innings pitched by relievers, outpacing even the Tampa Bay Rays, who developed the strategy of using an “opener” rather than a traditional starting pitcher to begin a game.  So far, the bullpen has performed well and ranks sixth in Major League Baseball with an overall ERA of 3.07.

Game 1 (Friday, April 30, 7:10 pm ) Yu Darvish (2-1, 2.27 ERA, 37 K) vs. Logan Webb (1-1, 4.03 ERA, 24 K)

After a shaky start in the first game of the season, a victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Darvish has pitched like the ace the Padres expected him to be.  In his last four starts, he’s lasted at least six innings and given up a total of 11 hits.

In his last outing, Webb held the Miami Marlins scoreless for seven innings and struck out eight batters.  In three games against the Padres, he has an ERA of 1.80.

Game 2 (Saturday, May 1, 5:40 pm) Blake Snell 0-0, 3.92 ERA, 31 K vs. Anthony DeSclafani 2-0, 1.50 ERA, 30 K

Still trying to find the form that made him the American League Cy Young winner in his rookie season three years ago, Snell has held his own.  His 3.22 FIP (fielder independent pitching) takes into account the surprisingly shaky defense of the Padres up to this point.

In seven plate appearances against Snell, utility player Wilmer Flores (.218 average so far this year) has batted .429.

In his last start, DeSclafani gave up only three hits against the Colorado Rockies in a complete game shut-out.  Early in the season, he faced the Padres, giving up one run in five innings.  Against DeSclafani, Victor Caratini has batted .400 in five plate appearances and Jake Cronenworth .667 in three.

Game 3 (Sunday, 1:10 PM) TBD  vs. Kevin Gausman 1-0, 2.14 ERA, 34 K

Although troubled by tightness in his right groin, Gausman has made five starts so far and lasted at least six innings in each.  Eric Hosmer (.500) and Manny Machado (.400) have hit especially well against Gausman.  However, he’s held Wil Myers to a .167 average in 12 plate appearances.

Players to Watch

The Padres

Austin Nola

The Padres have sorely missed Nola (fractured middle finger) behind the plate and the batter’s box.  He made his first appearance in 2021 as a pinch hitter in the Padres victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday and stayed in the game to play second.  Darvish’s “personal catcher” Caratini had gradually taken over more innings behind the plate, and Nola’s return will ease that burden.

Fernando Tatis Jr.  

Early in the season, Tatis Jr. missed nine games thanks to his balky shoulder.  Since returning, he’s changed his swing to protect that shoulder and has improved his batting average from below the Mendoza line to 2.62.  However, at home, he continues to struggle at the plate with a 1.54 average and .267 OBP. In 83 games in his first season in 2019, Tatis Jr. made 18 errors. So far this year, he has 10.

The bullpen

Relievers have helped carry the Padres and rank fourth in runners left on base, 78.7 percent, fifth in ERA 3.07, and ninth in FIP 3.73.  However, the bullpen cannot continue to suck up inning after inning without consequences.

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The Giants

Starting Pitchers

The series may come down to whether or not the Giants’ starters can quell the Padres’ inconsistent but explosive offense.

Brandon Crawford

In nine plate appearances against Darvish, Crawford has batted .333 with one home run, but overall he’s hitting .208/.260/.403.663.

Buster Posey

Posey, who opted out of the season last year, leads the Giants with 20 hits and five home runs.

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4 thoughts on “San Diego Padres face the San Francisco Giants at Petco

  1. Our defense has been… lackadaisical. I get having fun while you play and occasional hotdogging is expected. But, it’s been costly. We must be leading the league in errors. Tatis must be leading the league on his own! Trying too hard often causes issues and he’s not exempt from that.

    Pham and Profar have been hitting of late but I’m still scratching my head that we didn’t have another starter ahead of them. We really have nothing better in the minors so I’m hoping AJ is looking around at someone worth obtaining.

    I think Joe has fallen in too deep a love with his off speed pitches and teams seem to be avoiding those now and waiting on his fastball. Snell looks like he’s only happy with strikeouts. He has got to get deeper into games as he said he desires to. Weather’s early exit is concerning, especially since he has appeared so good in his early stints as a starter. Lamet and he will both get an opportunity to prove they aren’t significantly injured this week.

    As I said… we aren’t looking like a contender early on. LA has also struggled and just lost May to injury for the season. While we never wish I’ll on anyone, we cannot expect the Dodgers or the Giants to hand us anything.

    1. Hi again, Tony,

      Last night’s game was a microcosm of this very uneven beginning to the season. It’s confounding that a roster this loaded could be so mediocre. The situation with starting pitchers is very worrisome. Except for Darvish and Musgrove, they certainly haven’t lived up to their billing or their potential.

      The Dodgers should be running away with the division but the Giants seem to be the team to beat mostly because of pitching but also good old Buster Posey. A year off certainly invigorated him.

      I know it’s only a month an a few days into the season, but I’m not seeing any signs of real improvement.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,


  2. We are playing like an average team. We certainly aren’t playing like a playoff bound team. Just about every game you can point to issues that just shouldn’t be. Extended troubles covering every aspect of the team is beyond worrisome. The Dodgers are struggling also or I could see us being 8-10 games out already.

    I wasn’t pleased we were going into the season with Pham or Profar as a starting outfielders. I hope/think Preller will address a starting outfielder earlier than later. I’m not sure what’s up with Wil Meyers. He looks unhappy and unsettled.

    Moments of positives and interrupted with too many moments of issue with the pitching staff. I’ve not read anything recently anywhere about our list of injured pitchers. I’m not sure what we can expect back and when. I can’t see us not bringing in some relief help. I hope Gore will be MLB ready and brought up sometime in May to get his feet wet. If he’s what they’ve claimed him to be… he’ll be needed. But, his mechanics issue of last year has Me wondering if he’ll live up to expectations. Fingers are crossed.

    1. Hello Tony,

      Fingers crossed may have to be the Padres’ motto. You’re right about the problems with each aspect of the team. The bullpen has been lights out, but that comes with a high cost. Fortunately, the Dodgers are having their own problems.

      Under Preller, the front office has been very secretive about the condition of pitchers on the IL or even those just missing from action. The situation with Gore is also mysterious. It’s especially frustrating because the team started the year with the best rotation in many, many years, and the results have been inconsistent except for Yu Darvish and Joe Mosgrove. Myers is hurting with patellar tendonitis and trying to play through it, so that could certainly explain his demeanor. And what about the defense?

      Profar was never meant to be an everyday starter, and Pham has been a problem since the beginning with injuries. I will never understand the faith the team has put in Pham.

      Power ranks still have the Dodgers at the top, with the Padres second. It will be interesting to see how long they stay there.

      I always appreciate your insights. Thanks for sharing,


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