March 28-31 vs. San Francisco Giants
It’s tough to beat Opening Day. The Padres open at home against the rival Giants on opening weekend. The Padres are actually projected to be better than the Giants this year, so this will be a good, early measuring stick. The Giants are a mess and the Padres need to take advantage.
Even in a down year, Buster Posey is still a force to be reckoned with. His power numbers virtually disappeared last season but he is bound for a bounce-back year. He is still a lifetime .306 hitter with a 132 career wRC+. Evan Longoria, also past his prime, can still do damage as well. Even Madison Bumgarner has shown signs of decline. This team is a shell of the franchise that won three championships in five years.
It will be great to see regular season baseball again and for the Padres to flex its new muscles. Who knows? Perhaps one of these games will be Chris Paddack Day.
June 3-5 vs. Philadelphia Phillies
This was not on the list until Bryce Harper agreed to go to Philly. Now this series pits the two largest free agents of this decade against each other with Harper and Machado. The Phillies have a stacked lineup that contains two former MVPs, the other being Andrew McCutchen. The top half of this lineup is basically an All-Star team with Harper, McCutchen, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, and Rhys Hoskins.
The Phillies will be among the elite teams in the National League. Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta are atop the starting rotation, one of the better one-two punches in the NL.
Harper and Machado, while not rivals, will certainly be compared for their substantial contracts this offseason. By the time this series happens, we will have a decent idea of what these two players will bring to their teams in 2019. Plus, a team full of stars comes to Petco Park. How fun is that?
June 6-9 vs. Washington Nationals (Beach Towel, vs. 2nd best NL Team)
The following series is against another prominent NL East team, Harper’s former home, the Nationals. The Nationals very well could be better this year, even without Harper. Juan Soto is a budding star who looks to replace Harper almost seamlessly. Max Scherzer is still one of the most fun pitchers to watch in all of baseball.
The fact that this is a weekend series against a marquee team makes this a fun matchup. The Padres are also giving away a Beach Towel on the Saturday game, which usually draws a crowd as well. There will also be a contingency there for the hometown kid who may get a start at Petco in this series, Stephen Strasburg. The former San Diego State Aztec has made four starts in San Diego with a 3.12 ERA.
The Nationals are expected to be contenders in a cramped NL East, and the Padres will get to test their bats against one of the best starting rotations in baseball, especially since they added Patrick Corbin to the mix.
June 28-30 vs. St Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are always a solid team and you can never count them out. This season, the NL Central will be stacked and the Cards will be right in the thick of it. The Friars will face a familiar foe in Paul Goldschmidt, who will be donning Cardinal red. He is a career .280 hitter with 11 home runs at Petco Park.
Matt Carpenter is one of the best all-around hitters in the league, averaging 27 home runs and a 134 wRC+ over the past four seasons.
Miles Mikolas, fresh off of a big extension, is blossoming into one of the best young pitchers in the game. The Padres know first hand since San Diego drafted him in 2009 and was traded to the Pirates for Alex Dickerson.
Also, as a bonus, fans will receive 50th anniversary Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman replica jerseys on the Saturday night of this series.
August 23-25 vs. Boston Red Sox
This undoubtedly will be the pinnacle home series of the 2019 season. The reigning World Series champion Red Sox come to town, along with many of their fans, surely. They came to San Diego in 2016 and the Padres dropped two out of three.
The Red Sox are not short on firepower. The reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts also won a Gold Glove and was clearly the best player in baseball in 2018. J.D. Martinez is one of the best pure sluggers in the game, with 88 home runs in the last two seasons.
Chris Sale is an ace among aces, posting a ridiculous 207 ERA+ and has turned in two straight seasons of a sub-3 ERA. Former Cy Young winner David Price still has plenty left in the tank as well. This team is loaded.
On Saturday night, fans will be treated to Sky Blast, a fireworks spectacle in what should be one of the busiest and fun nights of the season at Petco Park.