Padres Series Preview: Padres Head to the Desert to Battle Diamondbacks

Credit: UT San Diego
Credit: UT San Diego

The San Diego Padres now move on from a woeful series at AT&T Park and move on to Chase Field to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Padres move on from an opponent who seems unreachable to a much more attainable one.

Both the Padres and the Diamondbacks have failed to match their expectations this season. The Padres have failed to recreate the “Dream World” the front office has created. While the Diamondbacks have actually just not lived up to any hype. The Diamondbacks made some of the biggest moves in baseball before the season started. Specifically they reinforced their pitching staff and added some of the best arms of the 2015 season. Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller. However both have just frankly been, abysmal this year.

Paul Goldschmidt is also surprisingly having a bad campaign so far. Arizona’s first baseman is batting a mere .240 so far this season. The last time these two teams faced each other we saw quite an interesting matchup. The Diamondbacks manged to have the slight edge in the series. We saw a defensive error cost us a game in that series and we saw a walk-off by Melvin Upton Jr. Yeah it was quite the series.

Now this is definitely a series the Friars should have in the back of their pocket. But due to recent performances, who knows really. All I want out of this series is to not see something like game one of the last Giants series. Just a bit of respect to the fans and some self-respect as well. We can not lose a game in that fashion again this season.

Pitching Matchups

Christian Friedrich vs Robbie Ray 6:40 p.m.

Cesar Vargas vs Zack Greinke 7:10 p.m.

Drew Pomeranz vs Archie Bradley 1:10 p.m.

The Padres definitely have the edge in terms of pitching in this series. As mentioned before, the Diamondbacks pitching has simply not lead up to expectations. Tonight we will see Christian Friedrich in his third start in a Padres Uniform. Friedrich would have an impeccable start in his first outing as a Padre. As he would throw six innings against the Brewers and only allow a run to cross the plate. The lefty would then struggle in his next start as he would only throw three and a third innings against the Dodgers. He would only allow two earned runs but really would not look on-point that day. Friedrich should be able to beat Robbie Ray who has had a tough go at it this year. Ray has an ERA of 4.33 in nine starts this year. If Friedrich can have a day like he had in Milwaukee expect the Pads to take Friday’s game.

Game two brings a really interesting matchup which I encourage everyone to see. For the Friars we have the shining bright light of the 24-year-old, Cesar Vargas. In six starts Vargas has only had one start that hasn’t been a quality one. Unfortunately due to lack of run support he is yet to get his first career win. Vargas has been outstanding for the Padres this season. He looked phenomenal in his last start, which came against the Dodgers. “El Calmado” would have his longest start of his career as he would throw seven innings. In those seven innings Cesar would only allow two runs to cross the plate and strike out seven. I mean come on it’s about time we get this kid a win. The Diamondbacks have a guy who had a really good start himself, last time out. That man would be former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke. Greinke would have a marvelous outing against the St. Louis Cardinals. He would throw eight innings and only allow a run to cross the plate. Now Greinke has really not been living up to expectations this year. In 10 starts the former Dodger has an ERA of 4.59. Now this is a scenario where numbers really don’t matter. Greinke proved in his last start, and in his last start against the Padres that he can go out there and just have the best start of his life. If he wants to. Something is definitely off with Zack this year, but that doesn’t matter. He is more than capable of going out there and having a tremendous start.

The third game of the series is one that the Padres should really be winning. Drew Pomeranz has really been among the best pitchers in baseball. The lefty has been otherworldly in this 2016 campaign. Drew has managed to have an ERA of 1.70 in nine starts this season. Shelby Miller was supposed to be on the bump for the Dbacks on Saturday but was recently put on the D.L. Archie Bradley was recently scratched from a Triple-A start, so it seems that he will get the nod to start on Sunday afternoon. Bradley has not impressed in the two games that he has started this season. In those two starts Bradley has pitched 10 and third innings and has allowed nine runs to cross the plate. This matchup definitely favors the Padres and is a game that they should be winning. As you can see the Padres are more than capable of not only winning this series but are also capable of getting the sweep against the Snakes.

Players to Watch

Paul Goldschmidt

Credit: UT San Diego
Credit: UT San Diego

I had mentioned earlier that Goldy was having a rough go at things this year. But just like Zack Greinke, it is irrelevant because of the type of player he is. I couldn’t have excluded him from the players to watch. To Goldy’s credit he has been walked 45 times this year. That is an extraordinary number considering that he has played in 48 games this season. Because of that Goldy sits on an OBP of .404. So yes Brad Pitt he can get on base. All jokes aside Goldschmidt is no joke. He possesses tremendous power and is still one of the best players in the game. Goldy has also had decent numbers in his career against the Pads. He has managed to hit .275 against them which isn’t fantastic, but he does have a career OBP of .397 against the Pads. Goldschmidt is always one to keep a close eye on in any series.

Yangervis Solarte

Yangervis recently made his return to the Padres lineup in an interesting way. Solarte would draw a walk which would turn out to be a walk-off for the Padres. Now Solarte is back to being a regular in the Padres lineup. He had a good series in San Francisco. Yangervis went 3-9 with a walk. One of those hits would be a colossal home run in Wednesday’s game to tie it at three. In 10 games the former Bronx Bomber has hit .273 with a home run and seven RBI. I am definitely looking forward to seeing Yangervis play regularly and see what he can do in this series.

Matchups

Alexei Ramirez vs Zack Greinke

Isn’t it hard to believe that no other Padre but Alexei has managed to hit a home run off of Greinke. The Padres batters have had 178 combined at bats against Greinke. In those 178 only Alexei Ramirez has managed to go yard off of Greinke. Ramirez has really not been that bad against Greinke in his career. In 31 at bats “The Cuban Missile” has manged to get seven hits off of the Orlando native. Among those hits are of course a home run and also a double. Also in the mix are three RBI and a walk. This could be an interesting matchup but we’ll see how it goes.

Rickie Weeks vs Christian Friedrich

Rickie destroyed Friedrich back in the 2014 season. Weeks manged to go 4-7 against Friedrich. Weeks would get a home run, a triple, a double and single against Friedrich. No he wouldn’t hit the cycle against Friedrich, as this was in the span of two games. Weeks barely made the Diamondbacks out of spring training and really hasn’t been all that bad. Unlike the Diamondbacks this season, Rickie has actually exceeded expectations. In 33 games Jemile’s brother has hit .255 with a couple of home runs and seven RBI. Not bad at all for the role he has on this ball club. Keep your eyes on this matchup Friday.

Storyline

Can Cesar Vargas Get His First Win?

This will be anything from easy. But come on, it’s overdue for Cesar to get his first win already. How can you go out there and throw five quality starts and not get a win? Also it really isn’t that tough of a task to get it done Saturday night. Vargas has looked tremendous in two starts against the Dodgers. There is no reason why he can’t have a nice start against the Dbacks. The question will be if he can get some run support. As mentioned before the Padres should be able to take advantage of Greinke’s bad form this season. But in reality it isn’t that simple. If Greinke has a bug in his pitching this season the Padres have a virus in their inconsistent offense.

On Wednesday we saw that in full effect. The Padres were unable to take advantage of Jake Peavy‘s form. Before that game Peavy had been atrocious with a 8.21 ERA. Well what did he do to his former team? Peavy would go six and two-thirds innings and only allow a run on the board. That really is just embarrassing for this Padres lineup. I do believe that “El Calmado” is more than capable of getting his first win of the season on Saturday night. But he can’t do it on his own like Clayton Kershaw. Let’s get some runs and let’s get this kid his first career MLB win. Go Padres!

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Francisco Velasco
Francisco, 21, Chula Vista area, Journalism student at Southwestern College. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres' 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the Tijuana Xolos soccer team, get press passes for every home game and write consistently about the team for EVT.

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