Tonight, on a very special episode of Series Previews...
Baseball Heaven is a lineup of Paul Goldschmidts and a rotation of Patrick Corbins. Baseball Hell is 2004 playing with 2010's bullpen. Randy Johnson makes 33 starts and pitches 240 innings with an 1.22 ERA every year in Baseball Hell. And every year he has a record of 0-3 and finishes tied for sixth in the Cy Young voting.
But Baseball Purgatory? Well, I'm pretty sure Baseball Purgatory is a Diamondbacks/Padres series for none of the marbles the week before rosters expand. Expect it to go on for eternity and for Tyson Ross to make every start.
What the Stats Say (Courtesy of Fangraphs):
When we last checked in with the Padres, they were a surprisingly good offensive team with impressively terribad pitching. It's still true, except for the offense part. As a team, the Padres hit .234/.298/.354 in July, which is probably a reason why they won one out of their first 13 games in the month.
As always, draw your own conclusions about Petco Park's park effects, given that they moved the fences in and skewed the numbers for a little while. But you probably already know that it's never a good thing to be in the same echelon as the Diamondbacks offensively.
1. Adam Eaton, LF
2. Martin Prado, 3B
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Aaron Hill, 2B
5. Gerardo Parra, RF
6. A.J. Pollock, CF
7. Wil Nieves, C
8. Didi Gregorius, SS
San Diego Padres
1. Will Venable, RF
2. Chris Denorfia, LF
3. Yonder Alonso, 1B
4. Jedd Gyorko, 2B
5. Chase Headley, 3B
6. Alexi Amarista, CF
7. Logan Forsythe, SS
8. Nick Hundley, C
Yasmani Grandal was going to be their Buster Posey, you know. He put up 2.5 fWAR in 60 games in 2012 as a 23-year-old rookie. Just imagine what he'd do once he gets some experience in a full season.
Instead, he got suspended 50 games for PEDs (which might explain some of that WAR total), hit .216 in 28 games, and promptly got placed in the 60-day DL with a knee sprain. And now San Diego is back to fooling around with Nick Hundley. The moral of the story is simple: don't give the Padres a Buster Posey, they'll only ruin it.
Of course, Carlos Quentin is injured too, but that's a Carlos Quentin joke rather than a Padres joke.
I'm not honestly sure why Yonder Alonso isn't a star. He has the pedigree, and he has a good plate approach, or at least he does whenever he faces the Diamondbacks. Bob Brenly will talk about how much he likes Alonso at least five more times between now and the end of the season. And yet, he's 26 and has never had even an average full season at first. He's fast becoming Brandon Belt's floor, and it doesn't make sense.
Also, Will Venable has an OPS of 1.105 since the All-Star Break. That seems like a thing that someone should have mentioned at some point, since it's better than Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen and anyone not named Jayson Werth over the same period.
Monday: Brandon McCarthy (2-8, 5.44) vs. Tyson Ross (3-6, 2.85)
Insightful Commentary: I'm even more unqualified to evaluate McCarthy than I am to evaluate any other pitcher, which is saying something. But it's becoming increasingly clear that his issues are best left to pitching coaches, doctors, and psychologists. And maybe it should have always been clear: McCarthy suffered a life-threatening injury while pitching less than a year ago, and that isn't something that just disappears without ramifications.
When we last saw Tyson Ross, he did this to poor Patrick Corbin. I mean, technically he did it to the Diamondbacks offense, but they deserved it. Patrick Corbin deserved no such thing. That was Ross's best start of the season, but that shouldn't obscure the fact that he's been very good overall since rejoining the rotation. His velocity's up noticeably from last year, and he's using his slider more, both of which may very well help explain the giant uptick in strikeouts this season for Ross.
Tuesday: TBA vs. Ian Kennedy (2-1, 3.20)
Insightful Commentary: Two years ago, Ian Kennedy was in the middle of putting together a string of starts that would end with a 2.11 second-half ERA for a first-place Diamondbacks team. He gave up just six home runs and 22 walks during that stretch of almost 100 innings. Keeping this in mind is just going to make it weirder when we see him in an ugly beige jersey with "San Diego" on the front. But it is worth mentioning that his respectable ERA with the Padres belies a FIP that's worse than what we saw from him here this year.
Cahill would be starting this, but his stint at the end of the Phillies marathon may throw that off. It's possible this will end up being another Zeke Spruill start.
Wednesday: Wade Miley (9-8, 3.60) vs. TBA
Insightful Commentary: It wasn't a "good" start from Miley in Philadelphia. Two strikeouts in six innings isn't ideal, and he did give up the lead after being gifted some runs. But it says a lot about how far Miley has come that a Quality Start is his worst game in over a month.
Edinson Volquez was allowed to make 27 starts with an ERA over 6 before the Padres finally called things off, and this is where he would have started. People in the know seem to think this will be Tim Stauffer, which would make some sense. Still I'm expecting TBA to throw 8 scoreless innings before ripping off his fake eyepatch and revealing that he was Clayton Richard the entire time. That's the most Padres thing that could happen.
For People More Optimistic than I...
Dodgers (9.5 up) Upcoming Schedule:
Chicago Cubs at home
Monday: Grienke vs. Arrieta
Tuesday: Kershaw vs. Wood
Wednesday: Nolasco vs. Jackson
Reds (7 up) Upcoming Schedule:
Road against St. Louis
Monday: Leake vs. Lyons
Tuesday: Latos vs. Kelly
Wednesday: Bailey vs. Wainwright
Cool Standings Playoff Odds: 10.0%
Padres Blog: Gaslamp Ball
(All stats from Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference unless otherwise indicated.)