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Series Preview # 24 : Diamondbacks vs Padres

This two-game series could be a surprisingly competitive.

C.J. Abrams’ ball-in-play against D-backs on 21 June.
C.J. Abrams’ ball-in-play against D-backs on 21 June.
Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

Since 10 June, the Padres have bounced around the Division lead between by a half game up and a full game down.

Last week, the Padres swept the Diamondbacks. Because this series is a 2-game series, another sweep is possible, but it could be surprising. I’m optimistic that Gallen and a rested bullpen will win the first game. I’m very cautiously optimistic that the Diamondbacks will win the second game to sweep the Padres.

“Competition is fun and exciting when you do it well.” — Torey Lovullo

Watch an exciting top-100 prospect in his debut season.

C.J. Abrams was drafted sixth in the first round of the 2019 draft. He is young at 21 years old.

He plays shortstop because Fernandez Tatis Jr. broke his wrist and had a corrective operation in March.

Improving Abrams’ nearly-average defense at shortstop (negative 1 DRS in 148 innings at shortstop) would be a positive development.

Although his AAA batting (.871 OPS, 7 HRs in 151 PA,) indicated he was ready to play in the Majors, his .515 OPS indicates his batting needs some adjustments. Two areas to focus on are:

  • Power. His 10 line drives had an average exit velocity of 87.5 MPH, which is the lowest on the Padres.
  • Walks. His low walk rate likely indicates he is not waiting for a pitch that he can do damage with. His .0465 walks per PA is 53% of the Padres average.

A few indicators of C.J. Abrams’ mind-set follow:

“Practice and pay attention to detail and the results will come.” — C.J. Abrams

“Advice to a left handed hitter, or a right handed hitter really, is to use all parts of the field and hit it where it’s pitched.” — C.J Abrams

“The biggest thing for me at the plate is being on time….[before each at bat] I take a look at the pitcher and time the delivery up.” — C.J Abrams

“Just stay level headed, don’t get too high or too low.” — C.J Abrams

The Pitching Matchups.

The closers are roughly equivalent. Details follow:

  • The Padres closer is Taylor Rogers. This season, he has 22 saves in 25 opportunities (88%). Six other pitchers have closed with a total of 3 saves in 10 opportunities. Data through 25 June.
  • The Diamondbacks closer is Mark Melancon. This season, he has 11 saves in 13 opportunities. His latest save opportunity was 4 June. Since then he has allowed only 1 earned run in 6 innings of non-save appearances. Five other pitchers have closed with a total of 6 saves in 12 opportunities. Data through 25 June.

Tuesday 6:40 PM Arizona time, Sean Manaea (99 ERA+) vs Zac Gallen (142 ERA+).

Last week when these two pitchers faced off, each starter pitched 6 Innings with only 1 earned run. Both bullpens pitched very well – but the Padres scored one run and that was the difference.

This game could be another pitching duel, with one run being the difference maker. I like the Diamondbacks’ chances.

Wednesday, Mike Clevinger (111 ERA+) vs Madison Bumgarner (110 ERA+).

Last week when these two pitchers faced off , Mike Clevinger gave up 1 run in 4 innings, while Madison Bumgarner gave up 4 earned runs and 2 unearned runs in 4 innings.

This season, Bumgarner has always bounced back after a disappointing start. Because Wednesday is his bounce back game, I am cautiously optimistic of a good result. Possibly this game could be an opportunity for the Diamondbacks to sweep the Padres.