The Padres meet Arizona for seemingly the umpteenth time starting tonight…and they get yet another series with the D’backs on August 30.
From a previous look at the Richard/D’backs matchup:
Unfortunately, Richard fits the same bill as a pitcher who doesn’t have a weapon to go with his combination of two-and-four-seam fastballs. Like Garland, he lacks the velocity to throw the ball by good fastball hitters, and doesn’t have another knockout pitch.
The good news is that Richard’s fastball is better than Garland’s, and that most of the good Arizona hitters (Montero, Drew, Johnson, Adam LaRoche, Gerardo Parra) are lefties. Richard dominates against lefties, and his slider and curve give him pitches that are effective to same-side hitters. It’s righthanders who have no trouble with his breaking stuff, and his changeup and cutter aren’t effective to righties either.
That makes Upton and Reynolds a problem, but those two have the potential to crush just about anyone.
In his last two starts against Arizona, he’s been tagged for ten runs in ten innings, and the above matchup analysis is of a middling projection. I wouldn’t expect greatness here. The two starts against Arizona are the only two in his last eight in which Richard has allowed a homer.
Somehow, LeBlanc has managed to not face the Snakes this year. Obviously, the thing to look out for with him is the fastball/changeup abilities of the opposing hitters. That marks LaRoche, Reynolds, and Johnson as three guys to watch out for. Upton and Chris Young really have changeup issues, as do Parra and Rusty Ryal. If LeBlanc has the changeup working, he could really inflict some damage here, with Reynolds being the only righty who might be able to handle it (and even he’s just average). If he doesn’t have it working, though, the power of Arizona’s team, particularly against fastballs, could lead to another bad outing. This one’s tough to predict.
As for Correia, more copy-pasteing!
Finally, Correia slots in for the series finale. He also uses his fastball and cutter a good amount, which is bad news, because they aren’t very good. Thankfully, Correia has two solid breaking pitches he can deploy to the Diamondbacks, particularly his slider–Arizona is one of the worst teams in baseball against sliders.
Correia must rely heavily on the slider against Arizona, because his fastball and cutter simply won’t cut it against this lineup, particularly with Correia’s questionable command.
This is pretty much exactly what I said about Correia slotting in against Milwaukee his last time out, and that didn’t turn out well. Arizona isn’t quite as ruthless with fastballs as the Brewers, but…meh, I’m just not really feeling this matchup either.
It’s worth noting, though, that Correia struck out nine in six innings last time against Arizona, so perhaps he just knows their hitters more than Milwaukee’s. They are in the West, after all. Correia also whiffed 14 D’backs in 11 2/3 back in April, so three of his four 6+ K starts this year have come at Arizona’s expense. The other was against the Pirates.
So, there’s reason for optimism and pessimism on all three of these matchups. I don’t think I’ve ever been this ambiguous in a series preview, but I can really see just about anything happening.