The San Diego Padres are coming off a nice run in which they have won four out of their last six games. The Padres have looked very good in their wins, with all components of the team looking sharp. The negative to take from this is that the two losses that they have in this run have both been shutouts.
Overall though the Pads have been exceeding expectations this season. The Padres now start the toughest test of the season. It starts with a four game series against the New York Mets at Petco Park. The treacherous journey starts today at 7:10 and you better believe this series will be a long and winding road. I’m not saying the Padres can’t win this series, but man is it going to be tough.
The Padres have only had one other four game series this year and they failed miserably. That series was against the Phillies and the Friars lost three out of the four games. That was a painful series that the Padres should have won. Now this is a series that the Padres shouldn’t necessarily be winning.
Things don’t look to be in the Padres favor this series. You really never know though, at the end of the day it’s baseball and anything can happen. The Padres were obliterated by the Dodgers in the opening series of the season. Then they won two out of three games against the Dodgers in L.A. this past weekend. Realistically though this series will not be an easy task as the Mets pitchers are dominant. If the Padres are to succeed in this four-game series, all components of the team will need to be on point.
Looking at these pitching matchups gives me a bit more hope. Yeah we have to face the three main guys from their rotation, but it’s not that bad. I still don’t think the Padres can pull off this series but if they can tie the series that will be a win in its own right.
Today’s game is one that I do not believe the Padres can win. They face former rookie of the year and arguably the Mets best pitcher this season, Jacob deGrom. On the mound for the Friars will be Colin Rea. Rea looked great in his last start only giving up two runs in six innings against the Dodgers. Rea will have a tough task as the Mets have a stacked lineup which is tied for most home runs in MLB with 40.
Game two is a game which I think the Padres are capable of winning, for the simple fact that Drew Pomeranz will be on the mound. Pomeranz has been dominant this season. He displayed how good he can be in his last start. Pomeranz faced the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium and only allowed a run and walk in seven innings of work. Pomeranz unfortunately lost the game due to no run support at all. If the Padres hitters can get at least a couple runs off of Thor, then this a game that the Padres will win.
Game three is an interesting matchup that I’m really looking forward to seeing. The old men on the staffs face off. James Shields against the guy everyone loves Bartolo Colon. You just can’t hate Bartolo Colon, he’s one of the funnest players to watch out on the field. He’s also been pretty good for the Mets this year posting a 2.56 ERA. On the other hand we have James Shields who has recently picked up his first win of the season. Shields has looked impressive in his last few starts and should be able to pull out his second win of the season on Saturday.
It won’t be an easy task though as the Mets are pretty decent at hitting home runs and Shields sometimes can struggle with giving up dingers. Out of the all the games though this is the one that I believe the Padres have the best chance at winning.
Finally we have game four. Matt Harvey can be an intimidating force to come up against. The thing that is scary is Harvey has been the Mets worst pitcher this season. Posting an ERA of 4.76 in this early campaign. We all know that none of that matters here in Petco Park. We have seen it before this season with pitchers who hadn’t been all that hot coming into their starts at Petco Park. We saw it with Zack Greinke and Gerrit Cole, both hadn’t pitched to their full potential before coming to Petco but really shined here.
The fact of the matter is that this is a pitching fortress. The Padres will have a tough task in “The Dark Knight”. Andrew Cashner will be on the mound for the Padres. Cashner has been up and down this year, really. He looked good in his last start on Tuesday only allowing three runs. All three runs came pretty early, which can be a problem. This is a strong lineup that Cashner will be facing with the likes of David Wright, Yoenis Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and well frankly everyone. This last game will boil down to how Harvey performs and whether or not the offense can get some runs. All the pitchers on the Mets rotation are phenomenal and the Padres will be in for quite the challenge. That being said the Padres pitchers themselves have not been too shabby and are capable of getting wins if the offense can help out.
Players To Watch
I just had to include this former Friar in the players to watch. Rene is not the starter for the Mets, but will certainly at least start a game or two in this four game series. Rivera was a fan favorite here in San Diego. He was never good with the bat but was one of the best receivers in the league. Rivera turned balls into strikes. A lot of fans will be happy to see him back at Petco Park.
Last season in 151 games Neil Walker had 16 home runs. Now in 2016 Walker has more than half of that in 25 games. Neil Walker came out of nowhere and is tearing it up for the Mets. Walker has nine home runs and a BA of .296. Walker had always been a decent hitter but really hadn’t done all that great recently. This seems to be the year for Walker and he’s definitely a player to watch in this series.
Wallace had a great series against the Rockies. Wallace went 4-8 with a couple of RBI and a home run as well. Wallace showed moments of greatness last year as a pinch hitter and is now looking solid as a starter. With the injuries to Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, and Alexi Amarista, Wallace has now been given the chance to start at third. Hopefully we continue to see what Wallace delivered in the Rockies series, in this series.
There has been a lot of talk about Trevor Story but there is another 23-year-old phenom rising in the majors. His name is Michael Conforto. The 23-year-old has posted a BA of .316 with four home runs and 18 RBI. Petco Park can be a tough place to hit. Especially if it’s your first time there. It’ll be interesting to see how Conforto does at Petco Park. Story had a decent first series here at Petco Park going 3-9 with three walks and an RBI. I feel that Conforto is capable of surpassing those numbers in this series. Definitely one of the players you should be on the look out, in general this season.
The Padres Bullpen
The Padres Bullpen has looked spectacular as of late. In their past two series the bullpen has only allowed two runs in 16 and two-thirds innings of work. They have also struck out 23 batters in this run. The only two runs allowed have come from Brad Hand. Hand hasn’t really looked that bad, and has done solid work in the pen as of late.
The main guys though who have really looked sharp are of course Ryan Buchter and Fernando Rodney. Apart from those two who have looked flawless all season, Brandon Maurer has really stepped it up as of late as well. Maurer has struck out nine and not allowed a single run in his last four and two-thirds innings pitched. Kevin Quackenbush has also really turned it around lately with some nice scoreless frames. The whole Bullpen in general has really turned it around since the Giants and Cardinals series. The bullpen will need to be on their “A” game in this series against a very nice Mets lineup.
Melvin Upton Jr.vs Bartolo Colon
These two have seen quite a bit each other with all the years Upton had with the Tampa Bay Rays. In 33 at bats Melvin has 10 hits off of Colon with a Homer, a double, a triple, and four walks in the mix as well. Melvin has fallen off a bit after a hot start. Hopefully Upton can turn it around this series and even possibly go yard off of everybody’s favorite pitcher.
Asdrubal Cabrera vs James Shields
Cabrera is off to a hot start for the Mets hitting over .300 with two home runs. Cabrera of course was a long time Cleveland Indian so he saw quite a bit of James Shields. In 22 at bats Cabrera only has six hits against Shields. The thing is Cabrera has hit a homer, a double, a triple, and has managed to get three walks out of “Juego G”. Judging by their history and also the fact that Cabrera has looked great this season, Shields should be cautious when pitching to Asdrubal Cabrera.
Will The Padres Suffer Another Shutout?
It seems like it’s almost inevitable. The Padres have been up and down all season at the plate. After the Shutout thrown by Tyler Chatwood and Jake McGee yesterday the Padres have now suffered eight shutouts this year. That’s a scary number just 28 games into the season. The Padres batters have also struggled with striking out recently. With the likes of ” Thor”, “The Dark Knight”, and ” deGrominant” out on the mound for the Mets it almost seems impossible for the Pads not to suffer their ninth Shutout of the year.
What’s going to happen at catcher?
Derek Norris has just Been abysmal at the plate. He’s not a bad catcher at all, he just can’t seem to hit this year. Norris is now down to hitting .138 which is just not acceptable for a guy who’s going to be out there for most of your games. Norris went 0-7 in this last series against the Rockies. Christian Bethancourt took over on Wednesday and didn’t look too sharp either going 0-3 on the day. Maybe Austin Hedges might need to be called up soon if nothing progresses. That is after his hand heals. I do hope that Norris can pick it up and have a nice series. I also hope that the Padres can at least tie the series at two games a piece. Go Padres!