After a May that had started out pretty well, last week was pretty forgettable for the Friars. They lost a 2-game series against the Twins, then only managed a split against the lowly Chicago Cubs. The Chicago series didn’t even feature their best pitcher Jeff Samardzija, a lucky stroke for the Padres.
Let’s take a look at the weekly preview, with a big week ahead for the Padres, as they start out with three against the Diamonbacks, as previewed here. Again, it is important for the Padres to win the series they are supposed to win, and starting out with a sweep or 2 of 3 from the D’backs is essential. After that they head to Chicago to face the White Sox, who have been holding steady in the crowded AL Central hovering right around a .500 win percentage.
The two spot starters both fared well last week in Tim Stauffer and Billy Buckner Jr., and it is important they can tread water with the pitching staff until Andrew Cashner and/or Robbie Erlin get back from the disabled list. Health was an important part of their early season success, and holding tight until the starters are back will be crucial heading into the middle of the season.
Carlos Quentin finally seems healthy enough to play.. some. His two pinch-hit home runs last week were very exciting, and prove both how good he is when healthy – and how frustrating it is for the Padres stagnant offense when he is not. As the Padres outfield now has several competent hitters in Seth Smith, Cameron Maybin, Chris Denorfia, and Carlos Quentin, it is up to Bud Black to put the best lineup out there everyday. The question lingers still if Quentin could sub at first base for Yonder Alonzo, though a player with knee and groin issues seems ill-suited to a position where stretching as far as you can several times a game is a requirement.
The catcher position gained some clarity this week, as Nick Hundley was shipped off to Baltimore for bullpen help, leaving just two catchers with the Padres. Rene Rivera has shown his defense is amazing and offense more than serviceable, even as Yasmani Grandal struggles at the plate.
Player to Watch:
Carlos Quentin. His bat has looked very good in the early going – but he needs to stay on the field. He started in Monday’s game, but how many more starts will he get in this 6 game week? 2? 4? My goal for him would be 5 starts, but we shall see how things hold up for the old 31-year old.
Current Record: 23-28
Standings: 4th place, 9 GB of the Giants
Week Ahead Prediction: 3-3. I’m seeing 2 of 3 from Arizona but only 1 of 3 from the White Sox. Certainly I hope I’m wrong, but with the flux in the pitching rotation I think just holding steady is the order of the day.