For one last time in 2022, the Padres are coming to Chase Field for four final games. The Diamondbacks are playing out the string, trying to sneak by the Giants for third place and maybe, just maybe, end up with a positive run differential. The Padres, on the other hand, are hanging on to the final Wild Card spot with every ounce of effort they have. With only a two game lead over the Brewers, it’s a race that will likely come down to the final outs of the season, if not be decided by the tie breaker.
The past ten games have not been kind to the Diamondbacks. After a strong stretch of games against playoff contenders, they’ve lost three consecutive series against the Dodgers, the Rockies (??!!), and the Padres. Gallen’s scoreless streak ended. They lost the dumbest game ever at Coors Field, 13-10. Just generally disappointing to say the least.
The Padres haven’t been much better however, going 4-6 over their last ten. They won the aforementioned series against the Diamondbacks, but lost two out of three to the Dodgers, and split a two game series against the Mariners. Disappointing Septembers are something of a tradition in San Deigo at this point, and so far, this one has potential to fit right in.
Game 1, 6:40PM, 9/15: Drey Jameson (MLB Debut) vs. Sean Manaea (7-8, 1.35 WHIP, 73 ERA+)
As of writing, it hasn’t been officially confirmed by the team, but multiple beat writers have reported that Drey Jameson is currently with the team and will be making his MLB debut tomorrow. Pre-season, Keith Law of The Athletic ranked him the #6 prospect in the Diamondbacks’ system, right behind our other recent call-up, Ryne Nelson. Like so many other pitchers, however, Reno has not been kind to Jameson. Over 22 games, he is carrying a 6.95 ERA and a WHIP of 1.58. This is in large part due to a HR/9 of 1.7, compared to his MiLB career number of 1.3. That should come down in the much more neutral confines of Chase.
I think Manaea is ready for 2022 to be over. His first season in San Deigo has been a disaster by pretty much every metric imaginable. His ERA+ is his lowest mark in his career by 20 points, his walks are up significantly, but perhaps the most telling is that his HR/9 is up from a career number of 1.2 to 1.7. While pitching half his games at Petco Park. His last couple of starts have been predictably rough, giving up eight runs to the Dodgers in 4.1 and six to the Royals in four. He has had some success against the Diamondbacks so far this season. The Padres have gone 3-1 in those games, including a seven inning shut out back in the first week of the season.
Game 2, 6:40PM, 9/16: Madison Bumgarner (6-14, 1.47 WHIP, 84 ERA+) vs. Blake Snell (6-9, 1.34 WHIP, 95 ERA+)
If he was taking up some other team’s payroll, what is happing with Madison Bumgarner would be kind of sad. He was a very, very good pitcher who had built quite an aura of something like invincibility thanks to some still incredibly impressive post-seasons. However, since coming to the Diamondbacks he’s been awful and, in the process, tanked his career numbers so badly that no amount of focusing on redass’d relief outings in the World Series will make them look better. Anyway, last time out he didn’t do terribly, going six innings and only giving up four runs at Coors, which is respectable. Despite that, it did increase his ERA for the season to 4.88, which is the highest it’s been yet. Yay.
Blake Snell is to the Diamondbacks what Randy Johnson was to pigeons. He has faced them seven times and has an ERA in those games of 0.78. The Diamondbacks as a team have hit .138 against him, or if you prefer 17 hits in just 35.2 innings. He’s only faced the Diamondbacks once this season, but that was two starts ago when he held them to just a single run over six innings. Since then, he’s faced off against the Dodgers, who roughed him up for five runs over four innings, but I don’t think that has any sort of insight into this game.
Game 3, 5:10PM, 9/17: Zac Gallen (12-2, 0.90 WHIP, 163 ERA+) vs. Joe Musgrove (9-7, 1.08 WHIP, 117 ERA+)
Last time out, Gallen etched his name into the (limited) pantheon of great Diamondback pitchers over the years. He caught, and then surpassed, Brandon Webb’s mark of 42 scoreless innings before it ended at 44 1⁄3 on the back of three singles at Coors Field, in a fantastic stroke of irony. The fact that the streak has ended does absolutely nothing to detract from the incredible season that Gallen is putting together. He won’t win the Cy Young, but we’re going to see his name on a lot of ballots.
Musgrove has been solidly above average all season, but he is currently in the middle of one of his deeper valleys of performance. In his last five starts, he has not given up less than three runs in any of them, including a five run, 4.1 inning start against the Diamondbacks on the sixth. Couple of ways to look at this. Either he’s due for a good game, and the good Joe Musgrove will show up, or the Diamondbacks hitters are familiar with him and they’ll be able to pick up where they left off. Only time will tell.
Game 4, 1:10PM, 9/18: Ryne Nelson (1-0, 0.61 WHIP, 0.00 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (14-7, 0.95 WHIP, 121 WHIP)
Those numbers seem sustainable, idk. As I’m sure we all remember, Nelson’s first start came against the Padres, and he did quite well, holding them scoreless in Petco for seven innings of four hit baseball. Honestly seemed like a fluke, but he followed it up with another scoreless outing with only two hits against the Dodgers of all teams. We’ll see how the Padres adapt and prepare for him this time and if the results will be any different.
Nelson’s counterpart will be the Padres ace, the always formidable Yu Darvish. After a first season with the Padres that didn’t meet anyone’s expectations, Darvish has bounced back to his career norms for the most part. That ERA+ is exactly in line with his overall number, the home runs and walks are back to normal, and his WHIP is actually a tick below his career numbers. Only thing that hasn’t bounced back are his strikeouts, but he seems to be coping without them. This will be his fourth start against the Diamondbacks this season. His last outing against them was arguably his worst yet, as he gave up three runs and five hits over six innings. Says a lot though about his previous performance that that was his worst.
I like the Diamondbacks chances in games 3 and 4 of the series. I have no reason to expect anything less than a good outing from Gallen, and while I’m not going to bet the farm that Nelson’s scoreless streak continues, I’m not exactly going to bet against him either. Bumgarner, on the other hand, I would bet against and Jameson is a wild card. If Jameson comes out and has a good debut, I think the Serpentines have a good shot at taking the series. Otherwise, they’re looking at a split. Either one would be a good outcome against a team that would be in the postseason if the season ended today.