Arizona Diamondbacks (3-3) @ San Diego Padres (4-3)
The Padres have to be feeling good after winning 3 out of 4 games in a series against the Giants, with the highlight coming from a 10-2 whooping of Madison Bumgarner. They are currently on a 3 game win streak. The Diamondbacks are also coming off a big series win against the Dodgers, taking 2 out of 3 from a team virtually everyone has being one of the best teams in the NL. They dropped their last game though in a tough 7-4 loss against 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.
In this series, the D-backs will need to look out for first baseman Yonder Alonso and one of the Padres' shiny offseason acquisitions, Matt Kemp. They have batted .381 and .367 respectively so far this season. If the Padres get into the 9th with a lead, the D-backs are pretty much doomed as they will have to face arguably the MLB's best closer, Craig Kimbrel. He has not allowed a run this year in 4 innings pitched.
It will be key for the D-backs to have Jake Lamb, Ender Inciarte, and Paul Goldschmidt to continue their hot starts to the season. Lamb played a key role in the Giants series earlier this season with 7 RBIs, Goldy went deep twice in both wins against the Dodgers, and Inciarte has just been getting on base all year with a .348 average. It would also be great if Nick Ahmed's 2 hit day Sunday could translate into more offense like that against the Padres. On the pitching side, the D-backs have 5(!) relievers who have not allowed a run yet. They have combined for 16.1 innings of work and if starters continue to make early exits, the bullpen will need to continue this success.
The Padres have 2 starting pitchers currently on the DL, Josh Johnson and most recently Ian Kennedy. Also of note is outfielder
B.J. Melvin Upton, on the 15-day DL with something called sesamoiditis, which I'm pretty sure is a made up word. A more detailed report from the Padres' website is here.
New to the injury list is backup catcher Gerald Laird. He was placed on the 15-day DL Sunday with back spasms. Joining him on the injury list are the same 5 guys as the start of the season. A more detailed injury report for the D-backs can be found here.
For the D-backs, A.J. Schugel will be unavailable for at least one game as he threw 58 pitches Sunday against the Dodgers. Oliver Perez will more than likely not appear either Monday after throwing 26 pitches, so Andrew Chafin will be the only left handed arm left in the 'pen for Monday's game.
Nobody exceeded 12 pitches in the Padres bullpen on Sunday, so they should all be good to go for this series.
Monday: Rubby de la Rosa, RHP (1-0, 10.13 ERA, 1.88 WHIP) vs Andrew Cashner (0-1, 9.00 ERA, 2.20 WHIP)
De la Rosa's last outing was quite the roller coaster. He started off the game allowing a 2 run homer to Buster Posey, but then went on to retire the next 7 in a row. He got lit up in the next 2 1/3 innings, before being yanked from the game. A big problem for Rubby were the extra base hits. He allowed 5 doubles and 2 homers over 5 1/3 innings. He will need to cut those numbers down if we want a shot at this game.
Cashner performed very poorly in his first and only start of the year, allowing 6 runs (5 earned) in a loss against the Dodgers. Remember Adrian Gonzalez's 3 home run game a few nights ago? Cashner was pitching there. It appears that Cashner throws primarily a 4 seam and sinking fastball, while mixing in a handful of sliders and changeups. According to pitch values on fangraphs, his fastball is by far his best pitch, coming in regularly at 97 MPH, so look out for that.
Tuesday: Jeremy Hellickson (0-1, 6.23 ERA, 2.54 WHIP) vs Odrisamer Despaigne (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP)
Jeremy Hellickson looked very poor in his first performance of the year, allowing 3 runs over 4 1/3 innings. He was getting hit really hard, and batters hit 38% of balls as line drives, which is very high. He seemed to be having a really tough time locating his pitches, which is something someone who pitches the ball as slowly as he does needs to do. Speaking of slow, if you're going to this game be prepared to wait. He is one of the slowest guys in the league between pitches, so this could be a long game.
Despaigne is filling in for the injured Ian Kennedy. His one appearance this year came after Kennedy left the game, and he was brilliant. Over 4.2 innings of work, he didn't allow a single baserunner. That is no bueno for us Dback fans. He started 16 games last year for the Padres, with a respectable 3.36 ERA. He made 3 starts against us allowing only 5 runs in 18 2/3 innings, for a 2.41 ERA, so that's not exactly a positive for us. I'd say this game is a toss up.
Wednesday: Chase Anderson (0-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.60 WHIP) vs Brandon Morrow (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Chase Anderson got a no decision on Friday in the battle of the Andersons, with a very meh performance giving up 3 runs in 5 innings. While he only allowed 5 hits, he also walked 3 batters, and if you're new to baseball that's not a good thing. I personally like the kid, and I'm gonna predict he goes 7 innings and allows 1 run. You can write that one down.
Brandon Morrow was fantastic in his start Friday. He went 7 innings, allowing 4 hits and walking 3. I am surprised the Padres took him out when they did, since he wasn't in any trouble and had only thrown 88 pitches. The Padres are weird. Morrow was let down by the offense (yup those are the Padres we all know and love), and did not get a decision in this game, although the Padres would win 1-0 in a 12 inning game. To make up for this great start, he should go 2 innings and give up 8 runs. I'd be okay with that.
On the D-backs side, I'm gonna go with the entire bullpen. They have been phenomenal all year, and without their performance the D-backs would not be sitting at .500. Considering how long starters have been going, the bullpen will see a lot of action. Whether or not the Dbacks succeed will ride on the performance of these guys.
For the Padres, let's go with former Diamondback Justin Upton. I'm sure he still has the Martin Prado trade in the back of his mind, and he would love to make us pay. Up to this point, he has batted .364 against current Dbacks, so he will be a big part of the Padres offense in this series.
D-backs can't carry the momentum from the Dodgers series forward, and only win one in this series. De La Rosa and Hellickson both go a maximum of 5 innings.