The San Diego Padres return home after a seven-game road trip.
Only three games have been played at Petco Park so far in the 2017 season, so a little home-cooking should do the Friars some good.
They welcome their division rival Arizona Diamondbacks to the city, in what should be a great series.
The D-Backs have started the 2017 season well, going 9-5 to start the year. The team from the desert has a new manager in Torey Lovullo and a new G.M. in Mike Hazen. With the two new men in place, the team has changed philosophies a bit. The new regime is trying to turn around a franchise that was a disappointment last year. There were high hopes in the desert surrounding the team for the 2016 season, but they fell on their faces, finishing 69-93 on the year, and in fourth place in the N.L. West.
A.J. Pollock suffered an elbow injury in April and the team spiraled downhill ever since. The center fielder is a rock on defense and his bat is very under-valued. He came back last season in August, and looked decent at the plate, but a groin strain shelved him for the remained of the year. He recorded a 5.4 WAR in 2015 for the D-Backs and is very capable of carrying the team on offense and defense.
Let’s take a look at some more notes from this series as we attempt to gain information on the three-game set. It will be a hard-fought series as the young Padres try to regain some momentum that they lost in Atlanta.
This first game of the series will set the tone, as the Padres need to get to Miller and have extended at bats. The Padres would surely like to get into the D-Backs bullpen early in this first game. Shelby Miller has not had many appearances against the Padres. Yangervis Solarte has the most at bats against him. The infielder is 2-10 in his career with two RBI. Wil Myers is 1-4 career off Miller in their brief encounters. Ryan Schimpf might be one to keep an eye on in this game, as he has taken Miller deep. Schimpf is 1-2 career with a solo homer hit last year off the right-handed pitcher. The Diamondbacks best hitter, Paul Goldschmidt, is 2-5 lifetime off of Cosart with a double and two K’s. Chris Owings is 2-2 lifetime with a walk, and Yasmany Thomas is 1-3 off the Padres’ right-handed pitcher. The Padres’ bullpen could be exposed early in this game, and that makes getting to Miller even more important in this first game of the three-game set.
In the second game, the D-Backs and Padres will have their “Ace” pitchers throw for them. Jhoulys Chacin was the opening day starter for the Friars and he will be opposed by Zack Grienke, who the D-Backs brought in before last season to solidify their rotation. Grienke had a horrible year last year, as he went 13-7 with a 4.37 ERA in 26 starts. There were concerns about a velocity dip in Grienke’s fastball last year. He has gained a little bit of it back early this season, but it remains to be seen if he can continue to throw mid-90’s fastballs for an entire baseball season. Erick Aybar has hit well against Grienke in his career, and he will surely be in the lineup on Wednesday. Aybar is 11-30 (.367) with five doubles off Grienke in his career. Wil Myers 3-23 (.130) and Yangervis Solarte 3-19 (.158) have not had success off the right-handed pitcher, so the middle of the lineup might have a bad day on Wednesday. Austin Hedges is 2-3 off Grienke with a home run, so the young phenom will surely be catching Chacin in the game. Against Chacin, Paul Goldschmidt is 4-13 (.308) with a home run and six RBI in his career. A.J. Pollock is 3-4 with a home run and Jeff Mathis is 2-10 (.200) lifetime off of Chacin. This will be a tough one for the Friars as they have had trouble against Grienke traditionally.
For the final game of the three-game series, the Friars will face left-handed pitcher, Patrick Corbin. Hector Sanchez will surely be in the lineup on Thursday, as he is 7-13 (.538) with seven RBI and two doubles off the pitcher. Wil Myers, 2-5 lifetime with two walks, and Yangervis Solarte (1-2) have hit him well in brief encounters. The Padres will throw Clayton Richard in the last game of the series, and he has thrown well so far this season. Richard has had some early success this season and looks to keep it going against the D-Backs. Paul Goldschmidt is 5-16 (.313) lifetime against the left-handed pitcher with seven walks and two doubles. A.J. Pollock is 2-8 (.250) with three RBI, and Yasmany Thomas is 4-7 (.571) with three RBI. The Padres pitcher will need to be careful with the middle of the D-Backs’ lineup, as they are capable of taking him deep and driving in multiple runs in an inning.
Players to Watch
The face of the franchise will look to get his 2017 season off correctly at Petco Park, where he hit well last season. Myers hit .306 with 18 home runs and 58 RBI in 80 games at home last year, where he recorded a .954 OPS. He has struggled against Grienke in his career, and will need to make some adjustments in the batters box. Myers has only walked once this year in 52 at bats and that needs to change. With a bunch of kids around him in the lineup, he needs to be more patient at the plate and make the opposing pitcher come to him. It will take time, but once he becomes more selective, he will produce huge offensive numbers for the Padres.
The first baseman is the star of the team and he will be a tough out the entire series. The big right-handed hitter is a perennial all-star and can beat you on the base paths as well. In fact, Goldschmidt and Myers are the two fastest, more athletic first baseman in the entire league. Goldy stole 32 bases last year and 21 the year before. Despite having light-tower power, the man is able to harm you on the base paths as well. The Padres will wisely pay attention to Goldschmidt on the bases, though Austin Hedges is the great equalizer. Goldy will not be too advantageous against the Friars’ catcher.
If the former Friar is shooting arrows once again at Petco Park, then the Padres will be in trouble. He was 0-1 last year for the Padres, recording 17 saves in 28.2 innings pitched. Rodney only allowed one earned run while striking out 33 batters as a Friar. He was dealt in June to the Miami Marlins for minor league pitcher Chris Paddack. Rodney signed with the D-Backs in the off-season and has been roughed up despite recording five saves on the year. He owns a 8.53 ERA in his first six innings, allowing six earned runs. The 40-year-old right-handed pitcher is getting up there in age, but his fastball still reaches the mid 90’s and he has one of the best changeups in the game.
Matchups to Watch
Hector Sanchez 7-13 (.538) against left-handed pitcher Patrick Corbin is one match up to keep an eye on, while Erick Aybar 11-30 (.367) is the only Padres’ hitter with any success against the D-Backs ace pitcher, Zack Greinke. He might hit up in the top of the order on Wednesday, depending on how risky Andy Green want to be with his lineup. Meanwhile, Paul Goldschmidt will be the one to keep in check for the Friars. He has hit all three starters (in this series) well, and the team might want to consider pitching around the slugging first baseman.
The Padres will have to be more selective at the plate in order to win this series–especially Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, as each need to get quality pitches to hit, in order to do damage. The two young outfielders are letting it fly early in the year and they have shown great power, but they do need to see more pitches in their at bats. Expect the Friars to battle this series. Wil Myers will want to set the tone and Yangervis Solarte and his emotions will help guide the Friars to a series win as the Friars will take two of three from the D-Backs at home. What a surprise.