Arizona Diamondbacks (24-18) @ San Diego Padres (15-27)
After a disappointing start to the homestand, the D-Backs closed in glorious fashion with a sweep of the Mets. The series was capped off perfectly on Wednesday with Chris Hermann’s walk off BOMB. Every game was a come from behind win, making the sweep just a little sweeter; plus, Mets fans went home from Chase Field sad. The MVP of the series was not a single player, but the bullpen as a whole. They pitched 9.2 innings, the only runs allowed coming in the 9th inning of a 7-3 victory. I’ll be honest; I thought the bullpen was going to be absolutely awful this year. I had never heard of Wilhelmsen and Hoover, the closer was going to be a 40 year old who hadn’t pitched that well in a couple years, and there was not a single man in the pen who I felt really good about coming into a 1 run game. Now, the relievers have the 10th best bullpen ERA in the MLB, and I don’t break out in nervous hives when the bullpen phone rings.
The Padres, on the other hand, are on track to win 57 games. Now, normally I would follow that sentence by telling you how the Padres are bad, but not THAT bad. Of course they’ll win more than 57 games! That’s only 35%! Let’s take a look at two random teams:
|Stat||Team A||Team B|
|Stat||Team A||Team B|
You can probably guess that one of these teams is the 2017 Padres, why else would I be showing you this table. They are Team B. Team A is... the 2013 Houston Astros, who went 51-111. Being compared to a 51 win team is not good! The offense will (probably) get a bit better; Yangervis Solarte won’t continue to bat .236 with little power, and a handful of guys have their numbers well down from last year (Erick Aybar, Ryan Schimpf, Cory Spangenberg). However, for the most part, the offense is playing about as well as expected,a and the pitching might even be over-performing. They are not a good team! Feel bad for the fans, they were gonna be the “it” team in 2015 after “winning the off-season.” Now, they are the worst team in baseball, and winning 57 games would come as a shock to very few.
The D-Backs are a little banged up, the most notable injured player being A.J. Pollock. He will probably be out for another 5-10 days with a mild groin strain, though the team has not released a timetable. Chris Iannetta is out on the 7-day concussion DL after being struck in the face by a pitch a week ago. Also of note is that reliever Jake Barrett is healed from his injury, but was optioned to AAA instead of being brought to the big league club.
Nobody too notable out for the Padres, besides Trevor Cahill, who landed on the 10-day DL a few days ago with a right shoulder strain. Outfielder Travis Jankowski, most notable for his luscious hair, is out for at least 6 weeks with a foot fracture.
Game 1: Taijuan Walker (3-3, 3.91 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) vs Jered Weaver RHP (0-4, 6.05 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)
A month and a half into the season, Walker gets a solid thumbs up from me. Not quite double thumbs up territory yet, but he has done what was expected of him when the D-Backs traded for him. He has an ERA+ of 119, meaning he is well above league average. So, what has Walker done differently from the last two years to improve in 2017? Well, the answer seems to be that he is simply not allowing as many homers as he used to; the right-hander is allowing 1 less homer per 9 innings than he did last year. I was not a big fan of the trade which brought him over here, but Walker has been a fairly consistent piece of the rotation.
Up until 2015, Jered Weaver was awesome. He’s one of only 15 starting pitchers to have had 9 seasons with an ERA+ above 100 since 2000. Since 2015, Weaver has not been the same pitcher at all, with his fastball velocity dropping 3 MPH from 2014 to 2015, and his ERA jumping up to 4.64. Unfortunately, things have only gotten worse for Weaver, his ERA increasing every year from 2015 to now. However, Weaver hasn’t actually been as bad as his 6.05 ERA would suggest; in half of his starts, the 34 year old has gone 6+ innings while allowing 2 runs or less. A couple blowups have severely inflated his numbers. Hopefully the D-Backs can tee off on his 83 MPH fastball.
Game 2: Robbie Ray LHP (2-3, 4.57 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) vs Luis Perdomo RHP (0-0, 4.19 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)
Ray has been a bit disappointing early on in the 2017 campaign, not quite breaking out like many, myself included, predicted he would. The peripherals indicate that Robbie’s ERA is right around where it should be; while his K/9 is slightly up from last season, at 11.71, his walk numbers are wayyy up, at 5.16 walks per 9. Striking out well over a batter per inning is awesome, but you can’t give a base runner a free pass every other inning and expect to be a dominant pitcher. Another bad sign is that according to Fangraphs, over half of the balls people hit against Ray have been classified as hard contact.
This will be Perdomo’s first outing against the D-Backs in his sophomore season. Last year, he faced Arizona 7 times (3 as a starter) and put up an impressive 2.49 ERA. He throws just two pitches 88% of the time: a 2 seamer which generates a lot of ground ball outs, and a pitch that PITCHf/x calls a curve, but looks to me more like a slider-curve hybrid. If only there was a name for a pitch like that. The breaking ball is nasty when he locates it, but he’ll throw a couple hangers every game.
Game 3: Zack Godley RHP (1-0, 1.93 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) vs Clayton Richard LHP (2-5, 4.86 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)
When Shelby Miller went down, my heart sunk. Godley is raising me right back up, looking excellent in each of his 3 starts this season. He has earned the regular spot in the rotation. Unfortunately, Godley’s ERA can’t remain under 2 forever; I generally don’t like using BABIP to predict everything, but opposing batters’ current .183 BABIP against him will rise. Allowing 5 walks, like he did in his last outing, also does not normally merit 6.2 inning, 1 run starts. However, it worked for him, and Zack should continue to succeed as the second-best Zack G on the team.
Richard is in the midst of his second stint with the Padres, going from the Padres, to the Cubs, and now back to Padres. Must’ve missed the beach. He has a bit of an odd wind-up, with an exaggerated pause before whipping the ball into the plate. You can watch a 10 minute video of Richard striking people out, if you’d like. One of Randy Johnson would be more interesting, but hey, maybe you’re more into a 6’5 ground ball pitcher than a 6’10, FIRE THROWING BEAST. I’m not here to judge. The D-Backs should fare well against Richard, as well as all the other Padres pitchers.
Key to the Series
Don’t Change Anything- The Diamondbacks are on a 3 game winning streak; the Padres are on a 3 game losing streak. The D-Backs bullpen needs to keep bringing their A-game, and the offense needs to continue their recent clutch hitting. The Padres need to continue being a .349 ball club (that’s winning percentage, not batting average, in case you were wondering at home).
D-Backs keep on rolling, sweeping the Padres in Petco.
How many games do the D-Backs take in San Diego?
This poll is closed
0- eaten by shark
2- toes in the sand
3- swimming with dolphins