After winning the season-opening series against the Giants three games to one, the Padres lost two of three to the Diamondbacks to close out the homestand. They will look to bounce back in St. Louis as they embark on the first road trip of the year.
Please note: Due to expected inclement weather, the first game has been moved to Friday, April 5
The San Diego Padres (4-3) begin the longest trip of the first-half with a three-game series against St. Louis Cardinals (3-3) on Friday before heading back west to play the same two teams from the first homestand.
After getting off to a great start to the season against the Giants, the Padres looked like a different team during the first two games against Arizona. Strahm seemed particularly bad, giving up five runs in 2.2 innings and after a great start in the season opener, Eric Lauer came back down to earth giving up four runs in five innings. For the bullpen it was worse, giving up nine runs in just over ten innings. However, things seemed to right itself in game three as the Padres were able to win by a score of 4-1. In what hopes to be a sign of resiliency, the team was able to come back behind the return of strong pitching, patience at the plate (they drew six walks) and driving in men on base. Add to that Manny Machado’s best day so far at the plate, including his first home run as a Padre, and the team put together a definite win.
As for the Cardinals, they came into 2019 expecting to be competitive in a muddled NL Central but stumbled out of the gates losing three out four to the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers. However, against the Pittsburg Pirates, the Cardinals swept a quick two-game series to bring their record to an even 3-3. Despite sweeping the short series, the Pirates held strong and forced St. Louis to tax their bullpen. The Cardinals used seven pitchers in each game versus the Pirates and were for the most part ineffective, despite the wins. The Padres should be looking early to jump on the starting pitching to further work that bullpen.
Players to Watch
The big free-agent looks to stay on track offensively after struggling the first six games (.217/.250/.217). On Wednesday versus the Diamondbacks, he appeared to finally relax at the plate going 2-2 with a home run and two walks. Against the Cardinals, Machado has not had a lot of exposure, but he has had some success hitting five home runs in only 53 career at-bats.
The young pitcher will take the hill in game two after dominating the Giants in his first professional game. Paddack only went five innings but gave up two hits and no runs, while striking out seven. It was a great, if not short, first outing for the right-hander but he will be facing a more dynamic lineup in St. Louis. Paddack will be starting just his second Major League-game and should be interesting to see how he responds to what sure is to be a hostile environment at Busch Stadium.
After eight years of playing in the Valley of the Sun, the six-time All-Star was traded to St. Louis for three players and a 2019 Competitive Balance pick in the off-season and one team who couldn’t be happier is the Padres. Goldschmidt has feasted on Padres pitching over the years with a .312/.427/.545 batting line in 517 at-bats.
Once long-time ace of the Cardinals, recent injuries have set back three-time All-Star, and he has been regulated to the number five spot in the rotation. Wainwright still has the stuff to get an opposing-hitters out consistently. Despite getting roughed up in his first start of the year and going only four innings, he is still someone hitters will need to prepare for. Wainwright has a successful history when facing the Padres, going 6-4 with a 2.24 ERA in 14 games.