The first month of the season is over, and the San Diego Padres have managed to stay out of the cellar. The Friars closed the month with a half-game lead over the under-performing and underachieving San Francisco Giants.
Along with winning some games, the youngsters on the squad have shown flashes of their true potential.
Wil Myers had seven home runs in April, and is emerging as the leader this team needs. His presence on the field, and in the clubhouse, is a positive influence on teammates.
The Padres open the month of May against one of the teams that has emerged as an early contender — the Colorado Rockies.
San Diego and Colorado met last month at Coors Field, with the Friars winning two games and taking the series.
This time, the teams meet at Petco Park, May 2-4.
From what these Padres have shown through the first month, it’s difficult to tell how each series will play out. This team could roll over and easily lose, or they could surprise their opponent.
Picked to be the worst team in baseball in 2017, they haven’t lived up (or down, in this matter) to that name.
Trevor Cahill is making his fifth start of the season. In his last start, at Arizona on April 26, Cahill pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits. He issued four walks along with those nine hits.
Cahill will need to find a way to curb the hits and walks against the Rockies’ lineup. Arizona has a potent offense, but they aren’t as good as Colorado. He had nine strikeouts against the Diamondbacks, so he has the potential to establish the strike zone and get hitters out.
If he has another nine-strikeout performance, fans might have to start calling him K-hill.
Tyler Chatwood is making his sixth start when he takes the mound at Petco. This will be his second start against the Padres. San Diego won that game 5-3, on April 10. The Padres chased Chatwood out of the game in the sixth inning. He gave up two home runs in that game, but that was at Coors. Petco isn’t the colossal monster it once was known to be, but it isn’t exactly hitter-friendly.
Jered Weaver is still looking for his first win as a Padre. His last outing is one everyone certainly wants to forget. He gave up three home runs en route to a 6-2 loss to Arizona on April 27.
Weaver catches a lot of criticism because of his lack of velocity. His fastball isn’t fast. He’s allowed 10 home runs this season. Expect more of that against Colorado. He did hold the Rockies to only two runs over six innings on April 10, but don’t expect that this time around.
Antonio Senzatela picked up his first loss of the season in his last start. Colorado lost to the Washington Nationals 16-5. Senzatela only gave up four runs in that start. The bullpen allowed the other 12 runs.
Senzatela out-dueled Weaver on April 11, allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings. Expect more of that in this game. Senzatela doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and he hasn’t given up a lot of hits this season. He doesn’t overpower hitters. He throws the pitch and then lets his defense do the rest. Expect more of that in this game.
Luis Perdomo continues to impress. He’s still looking for his first win, but he has looked excellent in his three starts. He hasn’t faced Colorado this season. The Rockies hitters could struggle against him in this start. He may still be looking for a win even after this game, but don’t expect Colorado to tee off him like they likely will against Weaver.
Kyle Freeland impressed in his Major League debut against the Dodgers on April 7, allowing one run on four hits over six innings in a 2-1 win. He followed that up with a poor performance on April 12 at home against the Padres. He allowed six runs and was chased out of the game in the fifth inning. Since then, he’s lived up to expectations, allowing just two runs total in his last three starts. This game between Perdomo and Freeland could be a pitcher’s duel.
Players to watch
Once Hedges shook that 0-for-24 start at the plate, the hits started pouring in. He brought his average up to .205 before the month ended. He also had six home runs in the month, just one fewer than Myers. He should be able to carry that momentum into May. Hedges is becoming the player he is expected to be, both offensively and defensively.
Myers has been living up to the hype this season. He’s the best hitter on the team, having a .310/.325/.593 line. He’s likely just getting started. His numbers should stay at the same pace, if not become greater, in May.
Before this season, Cordoba was at the rookie ball level, playing in the Appalachian League. He doesn’t look in any way intimidated after making an exponential jump to the big leagues. He’s hit .267 in April, and hit his first MLB home run last week against San Francisco.
The Padres won two out of three games at Coors Field last month. Expect the Rockies to return the favor this week at Petco and complete the three-game sweep. These games may not be blowouts, with the exception being Weaver’s start. However, Colorado has the edge both at the plate and on the mound in this series. Colorado completes the sweep.
Embrace the tank.