The Philadelphia Phillies (33-26) pay their lone visit to Petco Park this week to take on the host San Diego Padres (30-29) in a three-game series.
The Padres currently reside in third place in the National League West Division standings, 10.5 games in back (10 in the loss column) of the rampaging Los Angeles Dodgers.
After leading the division for a full week in the middle of April, the Padres slumped into a six-game losing streak. They followed that up by winning five in a row. But after appearing to have regained their equilibrium, the club has gone 14-18 over the last six weeks and slowly fallen off the pace.
Entering this series, San Diego has dropped two straight, three of their last four, and five of their last seven games. The Phillies will enter having dropped a season-worst four games in a row, and are now clinging to a one-game lead in the NL East Division.
A huge problem for the Padres has been their inability to score. They are just 13th of the 15 NL teams in runs scored and OPS. However, their hitters are fourth in the league in home runs, so they do have the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. This should be of particular concern to the Phillies, whose pitching staff has surrendered the most homers (92) in the National League.
Pitching has been their saving grace. The San Diego staff has combined to tie for the third-best batting average against figure (.240) in the entire NL and the seventh-best BAA mark and ninth-best ERA in all of Major League Baseball.
This series will end a pivotal 23-game stretch for the Phillies. Over the course of that three-and-a-half week endurance test they will have faced a tough gauntlet of opponents from outside their division, with 13 of the games coming on the road. The Phillies have gone 10-10 over the first 20 games, so a winning series would mean they came out ahead during what will arguably be the roughest part of their entire 2019 schedule.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
TOP LINEUP THREATS
Eric Hosmer: The 29-year-old first baseman has been by far the Padres most consistent offensive performer, slashing .291/.340/453 with nine homers. He leads the team with 34 RBIs and 31 runs scored.
Hunter Renfroe: A 27-year-old left fielder, Renfroe was the club’s first round pick at 13th overall in the 2013 MLB Draft. He leads the team with 17 home runs and 27 extra-base hits, and is second with 33 RBIs.
Franmil Reyes: Now in his second big-league season, the 23-year-old Reyes is the club’s right fielder. He is second with 16 homers and third on the club with 28 RBIs on the season.
Wil Myers: The 28-year-old Myers has seen action at three positions this year, but lately has taken over as the regular center fielder. His 10 home runs are third on the team, while he is tied for the club lead with six stolen bases.
Fernando Tatis Jr. A 20-year-old rookie phenom, the shortstop has been on the IL since suffering a hamstring strain in late April. He begins a rehab assignment today (Monday) and his return to the big-league lineup will be determined by how he feels and performs in the coming days. He is likely to miss this series.
Manny Machado: Phillies fans are well-acquainted with Machado following this most recent off-season. The Phillies pursued Machado aggressively, including hosting him for a day at Citizens Bank Park, when the 26-year-old superstar hit the free agent market. In the end, Machado chose San Diego, and the Phillies nailed down the other big prize of the off-season, outfielder Bryce Harper.
Machado’s deal with the Padres is for 10 years and $300 million. However, unlike Harper, who wanted a guaranteed no-trade in a 13-year deal in order to make a true home for the rest of his career, Machado’s deal has an opt out. He can opt out of the contract following the 2023 season, at which time he will be 31-years of age, and again enter the free agent market.
This season has been a disappointment. He is slashing just .251/.339/.412 with nine homers, 27 RBIs, 27 runs scored, and 16 extra-base hits. After playing almost the entire month of April as the club’s starting third baseman, the Padres shifted him to shortstop. He has played there exclusively since the end of April.
SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS
- Eric Lauer (LH-MON): 4-4, 4.45 ERA, 1.261 WHIP, 60 hits allowed over 58.2 IP across 11 starts with a 49/14 K:BB
- Chris Paddack (RH-TUE): 4-3, 2.40 ERA, 0.817 WHIP, 34 hits allowed over 56.1 IP across 10 starts with a 62/12 K:BB
- Joey Lucchesi (LH-WED): 4-3, 3.96 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 53 hits allowed over 61.1 IP across 11 starts with a 62/15 K:BB
KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECES
Josh Naylor: 21-year-old rookie 1B/OF was just recently called up for the first time and has appeared in eight games. He is hitting just .207 with one homer over his first 29 big-league plate appearances. The lefty hitter was originally the first round choice of the Miami Marlins at 12th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Manuel Margot: The 24-year-old has spent time as the starting center fielder, but a cold start has seen him lose playing time of late. He is slashing .231/.259/.313 with just seven extra-base hits and 13 runs scored while stealing six bags.
Kirby Yates: One of the top closers in the game today, the right-hander has allowed just 16 hits over 26 innings with 25 Saves. He sports a 1.04 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, and has a tremendous 45/8 K:BB ratio. Yates also has not surrendered a home run yet this season.
Craig Stammen: A top righty setup man who has allowed 27 hits over 30.2 innings across 28 appearances. The 35-year-old is a 10-year veteran former starter who has a 23/2 K:BB ratio.
Andy Green is now in his fourth season at the helm in San Diego. He has a career 235-310 mark, and prior to this season the club had lost 91 or more games in each of the first three years under his guidance, finishing in last place in two of his three seasons.
Petco Park is located in downtown San Diego, California. With a normal seating capacity of 40,209 the fans enjoy some of the most consistently nice outdoor weather conditions in all of baseball.
Petco is 334 feet down the line in left, 322 down the right field line, and 396 feet to dead center field. It is also known for having deep power alleys: 382 feet out to 391 in right-center, 357 out to 390 in left-center field. The park was actually intentionally designed to be an extreme pitcher’s park.
It opened on April 8. 2004 and hosted both the semi-finals and finals of the first World Baseball Classic back in 2006. On August 4, 2007, Barry Bonds bashed the 755th home run of his career at Petco, tying Hank Aaron‘s all-time career MLB record. The park also hosted the 2016 MLB All-Star Game.
The Western Metal Supply Company building, a hundred-year-old brick structure that had been scheduled for demolition to make way for Petco Park, was saved and incorporated into the ballpark design. It now contains the team store, private suites, a restaurant, and rooftop seating. The southeast corner of the building actually serves as the left field foul pole, and is protected by a strip of bright yellow angle iron.
SAN DIEGO SERIES WEATHER REPORT
Much as with their just-concluded series in Los Angeles, the Phillies will enjoy three days of stable, beautiful, perfect baseball weather in San Diego. High temps will be around 70 degrees each day, with game temps in the 60’s, light winds, and only a 10% chance of any type of showers.
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- Phillies acquire outfielder Jay Bruce in trade from Seattle Mariners
- Not a lefty, Marcus Stroman remains an interesting Phillies trade target
- Adam Haseley stars during his introduction to Triple-A