The San Diego Padres were spared any chance of getting swept, thanks to a round of rain that fell on America’s Finest City and forced the game on May 7 to be postponed.
The Padres dropped the first two games of a three-game series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Perhaps the baseball gods didn’t want to see a sweep, and they made the unlikely happen. After all, it never rains in Southern California.
The rain has passed and the Padres enter a new week. A new week means the start to a new series. The Friars will play a home-and-home series against the Texas Rangers. The series is four games, with two games at Petco and two games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
The Rangers are a team that entered the season with expectations of another postseason birth. Through their first 32 games, Texas has a 13-19 record and are last in the American League West. It’s still early in May, but this start by the Rangers is surprising. The Rangers have a .220 team batting average and a 4.17 team ERA. Of course, this team got off to a slow start two years ago, and still won the division.
Making another run like that became much more difficult after Cole Hamels suffered an oblique injury. He’s likely to miss around eight weeks, according to David Schoenfield, who writes for ESPN.
These stats make them evenly matched with the Padres, for the most part. This is a series that could go either way. The Rangers have a shot to get back on track and pick up some momentum. The Padres have a chance to steal a few games and stay ahead of the Giants in the National League West standings.
Trevor Cahill was thought to be the pitcher who would help the Padres salvage the final game against the Dodgers. Instead, he now is the guy with a chance to start the Friars off on the right foot against Texas.
Cahill is quietly leading the team in strikeouts and earning the nickname “K-hill.” So far this season, he has 37 strikeouts. On top of that, opposing hitters are hitting just .214 against him. The team rolling into town is hitting .220. This is heavily in his favor.
Nick Martinez is making his fourth start of the season. He pitched well in his first two starts, but was roughed up in his most recent appearance. He gave up seven runs against the Houston Astros on May 3. The Astros are currently the best team in the American League. He had better starts against both the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Angels, two teams that are struggling.
Jered Weaver is still looking for his first win of the season. That win has been elusive through six starts, but it’s going to be when a pitcher gives up a lot of home runs. Weaver has allowed 12 home runs through six starts, and has allowed more than one home run in all but one of his appearances.
In his most recent start, against Colorado on May 3, he allowed 10 runs. Five of those runs were unearned, but Weaver still gave up two home runs. He only pitched four innings, and allowed 10 hits. He’ll need a better outcome against Texas if he wants to keep his ERA under six.
A.J. Griffin, the El Cajon native who once played for the San Diego Toreros, is making an appearance in this series before it shifts to Arlington. He’s won three of his four starts this season.
His worst appearance was four runs over 3.1 innings against Oakland on April 7. Outside of that, his starts have been quality. San Diego has struggled to hit and score runs consistently, coming into this series with a .217 batting average. Expect another quality start by the kid from El Cajon.
Luis Perdomo makes his first career start against the Rangers. The only player he’s faced against the current Texas squad is Jonathan Lucroy. The Texas catcher is 0-for-1 lifetime against Perdomo with a walk and a strikeout.
Perdomo has won this season, but he also hasn’t lost. He’s made quality starts against both Colorado and Miami, two teams that have potent lineups. Of course, both of those starts are at home. He’ll be on the road against the Rangers. Unfortunately, that start will be against Yu Darvish.
Darvish has held opponents to a .214 batting average since he came to the United States five years ago. This season, he has held hitters to a .192 average, 22 points below his lifetime mark.
Darvish should make easy work of the Padres. That might be exactly what GM Jon Daniels is hoping for. With the team in the cellar and key players on the disabled list, Darvish could be one of a few to end up on the trading block in July. San Diego is a team that could help give Darvish an impressive start and make him look more than attractive to suitors in contention after the All-Star break.
Game 4: Jhoulys Chacin (3-3, 5.26 ERA) vs. Martin Pèrez (1-5, 4.06 ERA)
Jhoulys Chacin seemed to halt his trend of making a rough start after a good one. He held the Dodgers to one run over 5.1 innings on May 5. He didn’t get the win, however, since the bullpen gave up seven runs after he left the game.
Chacin spent part of last season with the Angels, so he’s familiar with the Rangers. The current squad has a combined .300 batting average against Chacin. Mike Napoli is 3-for-4 lifetime against Chacin with a home run. If that looks like a sample size, Lucroy and Carlos Gomez each are 5-for-16 against Chacin. Gomez has a home run, as well. This doesn’t look good for Chacin.
Martin Pèrez has made three quality starts in his seven appearances this season. He has five losses, but those can be attributed to a lack of run support. He hasn’t allowed more than four runs in any of his seven starts.
With the Padres struggling to find offense, Perez could find himself picking up his second win on the year. That is, of course, if the struggling Rangers can score runs.
Players to watch
A.J. Preller and Daniels are familiar with each other. Preller was Daniels’ Assistant GM before going to San Diego. Profar’s name has had a tendency to appear in trade rumors. His value was once fairly high, but has dropped since then. He has a .229 career batting average and hasn’t become an everyday player as expected.
Erick Aybar is with the Padres on a 1-year contract and outside of him, San Diego doesn’t have a true shortstop. This series gives the two GM’s a chance to catch up with each other since their partnership ended. Preller just might kick the tires on a deal for Profar in an attempt to give him a shot with the Padres. If the deal can be made without giving up any key prospects, he just might do it.
Once a No. 1 draft pick by the Padres, Bush has made good with a second chance. After serving jail time, the Rangers took a chance on the San Diego native. Since then, he’s become a serviceable relief pitcher.
In 10 appearances this season, Bush has a 1.69 ERA with one hold and one save. He can reach 98 mph on the radar gun, and the spin he adds to his fastball can be deadly when it’s working. The Padres once tried to convert Bush into a pitcher, but he couldn’t stay healthy and stayed in trouble. Now, the Rangers are enjoying his potential.
These two teams both have an anemic offense. The scores in these four games should be low.
Cahill will pitch the Padres to a win in the opening game. Weaver will hang pitches over the plate, and the Rangers can turn them into moonshots. Darvish will be Darvish. Chacin will make another good start, and Ryan Schimpf just might hit another late game home run that forces a split in this four-game series.