The San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants have spent the week battling simultaneously to stay out of the cellar of the N.L. West. The Giants split their recent four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at home, while the Padres lost their last series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road, three games to one. Pitching inconsistency and strikeouts have been issues for the Padres over the last few series.
The Giants are dealing with a huge recent blow with the loss of their unquestioned ace, Madison Bumgarner, who injured his pitching arm in a dirt bike accident a week ago. Fortunately for the Giants, an MRI has confirmed that there is no structural damage but he’s still expected to miss approximately two months of the season. This is not good for the Giants, who are currently in last place in the division.
Fortunately for the Padres, they will quickly benefit from the Giants’ bad luck and miss out on having to face Bumgarner, who would have been scheduled to pitch on Sunday. Let’s take a look at who will be playing in the series this weekend and how things may play out.
Perdomo has been looking good early in games this season but has had a tendency to start making mistakes when seeing the opposing lineup for the third time. He started in the home opener against the Giants on April 8, in which he cruised through five innings until he gave up a grand slam to Brandon Belt in the sixth. Fortunately, the Padres didn’t concede a loss and the offense showed up to win the game with a final score of 7-6. In his most recent outing on Sunday, Perdomo was looking good early but again got himself into a jam during the sixth inning at the heart of the Miami Marlins’ batting order for the third time. To be successful on Friday, Perdomo and the coaching staff are going to have to identify his weaknesses in the later parts of games and navigate them proactively.
This will be the first time that the Padres will face Samardzija on the season. The good news is that the Shark has not been very successful for the Giants in the month of April. In his most recent outing on Sunday, he surrendered seven runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out six in an 8-0 loss against the Colorado Rockies. However poor his performance has been against other clubs in 2017, he does have a record of dominance against the Padres. He has lasted seven innings or more in five of his last previous ten starts against San Diego. In 2016, he went 4-1 with a 3.94 ERA against the Padres over six games. In his final 2016 appearance against the Padres on September 22, he gave up no earned runs, with 11 strikeouts and only one walk in 7.1 innings pitched. To say that he likes to pitch against the Friars is an understatement.
In his last appearance against the Giants on April 8, Chacin pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, with five strikeouts in 95 pitches. He pitched an absolute gem. Bumgarner was the opposing pitcher and had a dominant outing himself, but the Padres’ offense produced just enough to get the win 2-1. In his most recent outing in Arizona against the Diamondbacks on Monday, Chacin allowed seven runs on eight hits (two home runs), with six strikeouts and two walks over seven innings in a 7-6 loss. The story so far is the Chacin has been immaculate at home and abysmal on the road in 2017. His home ERA is 0.00 while his away ERA is 11.93. Well, the upcoming series is in San Francisco so let’s hope that Chacin’s bipolar performances will finally begin to stabilize.
Cain might just be the Giants best starter at the moment. Haven’t heard that in a while, right? He pitched against the Padres opposite Perdomo in the home opener, allowing four runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts over 4.1 innings pitched, receiving a no decision. He was torn apart by Manuel Margot, who took him deep twice that day, which was very exciting to see. In his most recent outing against the Dodgers, Cain pitched six scoreless innings, but was pulled after only 70 pitches due to experiencing some hamstring tightness. X-rays the next day showed that he was fine and should be ready to go on Saturday.
Richard is facing the Giants for the second time this season, again in the Sunday rubber match of the series. On April 9, he surrendered four earned runs, allowing five hits (two home runs), three walks, and three strikeouts in 6.1 innings. He received a loss in his effort. At the time, the outing brought him back to down to earth after a masterful shutout performance against the Dodgers in the preceding series. On Tuesday, Richard started against the Diamondbacks and got shelled. He gave up six runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and three walks in only 3.1 innings. Hopefully he can put the poor outing behind him and produce a solid showing against the Giants this weekend.
Blach has been brought into the Giant’s starting rotation in place of Bumgarner. He actually faced the Padres in his first Major League start on September 25, 2016. He lasted only three innings through, in which he needed 76 pitches. In his first start of the season on Tuesday against the Dodgers, he surrendered two runs on four hits, with two strikeouts and one walk through five innings. He’s a youngster and the Padres have matched up favorably against him in the past, which is a plus.
Matchups to Watch:
As previously mentioned, Margot owned Cain in the home opener. He hit two solo bombs against the veteran right-hander, both on fastballs and both to left center field. The first home run took place in the first inning and the second in the third. Cain didn’t get another opportunity to redeem himself against Margot that day but surely he’s relishing the opportunity on Saturday. Look for Cain to make adjustments to Margot, definitely avoiding leaving fastballs hanging over the plate. Look for Margot to make adjustments in the box against Cain, hopefully finding a way to have a repeat performance from their last meeting.
Jhoulys Chacin vs the Giants at home
Again, Chacin shutout the Giants through 6.2 innings in under 100 pitches on April 8, at Petco Park. He went toe to toe with Bumgarner and won. The Giants’ hitters made the veteran right-hander look like an ace and, on that night, he was. The thing is, it happened at home. The challenge for Chacin will be whether or not he can replicate his dominance against the Giants’ lineup on the road. Look for Chacin to make smart pitches late in the game to avoid losing against a big swing or two.
Players to Watch:
Yangervis Solarte: He’s currently riding an eight-game hitting streak. In the series against the Diamondbacks, he hit for an average of .500, going 9 for 18 with four RBI. In the home opening series against the Giants, Solarte went 6 for 13 with a home run and five RBI. His slash line for the series was .450/.533/1.766. Much like Margot, he owned Cain, hitting two RBI singles off of him. Bumgarner was the only pitcher who really pitched well against Solarte, but he won’t be a problem for a while. Look for Solarte to continue to take advantage of opportunities and produce runs against the Giants.
Christian Arroyo: The Giants’ top prospect 3B/SS was called up from triple-A on Monday in an attempt to inject some life into the last place club. Arroyo enjoyed a very good introduction to the Major Leagues in his first series against the Dodgers. He got his first hit on Tuesday (against Clayton Kershaw of all people). On Wednesday he hit his first home run off of former Giant, Sergio Romo, and on Thursday he went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Look for Arroyo to try to keep the momentum rolling as he faces the Padres for the first time. He will provide a new challenge for the Padres’ pitching staff, who have never faced him before.
Ryan Schimpf: After finding himself in somewhat of a slump, pressure started to mount on Schimpf as Cory Spangenberg was called up from triple-A on Tuesday. Spangenberg represents direct competition at third base for Schimpf, who won the starting job on the 25-man roster coming out of spring training. To make matters worse for Schimpf, Spangenberg got the start at third on Tuesday night. After riding the bench for a few days, Schimpf was brought into the game late on Wednesday night. In the ninth inning he hit a dramatic three-run bomb off of Diamondbacks’ closer, Fernando Rodney, to give the Padres the lead as they eventually went on to win the game. On Thursday he hit a solo shot, giving him his second home run in as many nights. Look for Schimpf to ride the momentum and continue to produce at the plate as there’s a little bit of a fire lit underneath him with Spangenberg in the clubhouse.
It will be a challenge for the Padres to get a series win on the road but the Giants have not been playing great baseball. Samardzija has been a problem for the Padres in the past but he hasn’t been impressive at all this season so far. The Padres were able to capitalize on Cain’s mistakes earlier in the month, and Blach is a vulnerable rookie. If the Padres’ starters are able to learn from some of their recent mistakes and keep the team in these games through five or six innings, offensively the team has shown it knows how to prey on weaknesses of the Giant’s starters, and especially their porous bullpen. I see the Padres taking two games out of three for another series win.