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Series Preview #50: Diamondbacks @ Padres

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Better Late than Never

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The subtitle of the article can be referring to the return of Luke Weaver, the belated improved play by the Diamondbacks, or to my failure to get a series preview up yesterday afternoon. You decide.

After taking two of three at home vs. the Marlins, the DBacks opened the last road series of the year with a big win at San Diego last night. You can get the details on that in yet another kick ass Beercap

Their 79-75 record still leaves the team 5 games out of the Wild Card behind the Brewers, and an elimination number of 4. Any combination of DBacks losses and Brewers victories that total 4 eliminates the snakes. BUT....if the DBacks win out over their last 8 games and Milwaukee goes 3-5, then they would be tied at 87-75 and have to play one game to determine who would play one game against the Nationals. Sorry, I just had to write that out for fun. The fact is it’s September 21st, and there isn’t an E next to their name in the standings, and the earliest that might happen is September 23rd. I’ve jokingly used the #Pretendtocontend hashtag in the past, but I really never saw them making it this long into the season without being eliminated. I had them at 77 wins in the pre season prediction thread, and I lowered my estimate by 2 games to 75 after the Souza injury, and took the under on 75.5 at the AZSnakepit Casino.

It’s been another dismal season for the Friars. They are a full 10 games worse than the DBacks with a 69-85 record. And they deserve it, having a -94 run differential. A lot of things went wrong for them this year:

Manny Machado , who signed a 10 year, 300M contract with the Padres turned in a very disappointing first season, putting up just a .251/.330/.453 .783 OPS, 106 OPS+ batting line and 3.0 WAR

Breakout rookie Shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr was having an incredible season. Just 20 years old, he was hitting .317/.379/.590 .969 OPS, 152 OPS+, posting 4.3 WAR in just 84 games. Unfortunately for him his season ended on August 13th with a stress fracture in his lower back, suffered on a swing. The type of injury he had is notable, because it’s the same or similar diagnosis as Ketel Marte just received. To be clear, a “stress reaction” is the precursor to a stress fracture, or in other words, a mild form of fracture. It is a repetitive stress injury, and will heal with rest, but from what I’ve been reading can easily recur once sports activity is resumed.

Both the Padres and Diamondbacks medical staffs will have their work cut out for them trying to find ways to keep their young stars healthy and on the field next year. Nick Piecoro wrote

Hazen expects the club’s training staff will devise a strengthening/maintenance plan for Marte prior to next season to allow him to stay ahead of the issue.

“Guys that have general back issues,” he said, “you can strengthen those core muscles to protect them. We’re just trying to map out these types of plans.”

Eric Hosmer, who still has 6 years, 102 M left on his contract with the Padres turned in his 2nd straight disappointing season. On the surface his triple crown stats may look reasonably productive, (.273/21 HR/96 RBI). But they aren’t. He has 640 Plate Appearances and made 450 outs, which are the 6th most outs in all of MLB. His OBP is just .320. So simply put, he has used up far too many outs batting in the middle of their lineup to get to 96 RBI. The Low OBP, high RBI total guy is one of the most easily overrated type of player in baseball, and in fact is often a signature of a bad team. (Example here) The bottom line with Hosmer is his 98 OPS+ and 0.1 WAR make him a replacement level player, and that is even worse than last year when he had a 100 OPS+ and just 1.4 WAR. He is a bust of a signing for San Diego and is failing miserably to live up to his contract.

Other than Tatis before the injury, the best parts of San Diego’s season have been a strong rookie season from Chris Paddock, (9-7, 3.33 ERA, 128 ERA+) and an incredibly great and incredibly wasted season from All Star closer Kirby Yates, (1.23 ERA, 354 ERA+, 41 Saves, 100 K’s vs. 13 walks in 59 IP !!)

The Padres have a very good farm system, and could be better in the future. But we’ve heard that before. The mis fires on their free agent deals and lack of pitching depth need to be overcome for them to take next steps.

PITCHING MATCHUPS:

Saturday, September 21, 5:40 P.M. at Petco Park

Luke Weaver (4-3, 3.03 ERA, 1.6 WAR in just 62 IP) will make his return to the mound tonight. He was shut down early in the season with an elbow injury. Weaver will be on a 30 pitch limit, and is taking the slot of Zac Gallen, who has already thrown 171 IP this year, compared to 133 last year. It will be a bullpen game for the Dbacks.

Rookie Cal Quantrill (6-8, 5.33 ERA 80 ERA+ in 98 IP ) gets the ball for San Diego. He started off the season well, but has had a very rough stretch of late. The Dbacks just faced him on September 2nd, and beat him up for 8 earned runs in 5 innings in a 14-7 Snakes victory. More please.

Sunday, September 22nd, 1:10 P.M. at Petco Park

Robbie Ray, (12-8, 4.20 ERA, 107 ERA+) had a bounce back outing against the Marlins last time out, pitching into the 7th inning and allowing just 1 run. His previous two starts had been shortened due to a blister. A couple of strong starts to finish the season would sure help increase his trade value some.

Padres hitters vs. Ray. Surprising amount of success in that link vs. Ray

Garrett Richards is making just his second start of the year, coming back from Tommy John Surgery July of last year. In his first outing he went 3 23 IP and allowed 3 runs. He threw 61 pitches, so I can’t imagine they let him go much past 70.

DBacks hitters vs. Richards. Only Adam Jones of note.