Mandatory Credit: Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports
First of all – I will be changing the dates of the week in question to Monday – Sunday. It aligns much better with series schedules and a better natural time to take stock of the week.
That said, the Padres had a great week last week continuing to score runs, though taking 2 of 3 from Colorado would have been a nice way to end things. The fact that the offense continued to get into gear was great to see. However, the pitching has cast some doubt now with Andrew Cashner sent to the DL with elbow soreness.
This week the Padres get an off-day Monday to travel back home before playing a quick two games against the Twins (Inter-league! Hurray!) before a 4 game set against the Chicago Cubs.
Despite several years of losing – the Twins are a surprising 21-21 this season but nearly 8 games back of division-leading Tigers. Don’t forget that the Padres took 2 of 3 from the Tigers just about a month ago. It was fueled by Andrew Cashner’s complete game 1-hitter, but that’s beside the point.
The Cubs is a series the Padres have to take at least 3 of 4. If you don’t beat up on the teams you are supposed to beat, you cannot win your division in baseball. A split will not be acceptable. The Cubs are getting some production this season from Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.
Jeff Samardzija has pitched incredible for the Cubs, and received absolutely zero run support. He is still searching for his first win of the season despite a 1.62 ERA. The Cubs are dead last in all of baseball at 15-27.
The Padres’ offense has looked great in 7 of the last 10 days now. Will this be the week Bud Black actually put out the same lineup for multiple days? We shall see…
Player to Watch:
Ian Kennedy. Kennedy takes the hill for the Padres twice this week: Tuesday and Sunday. With Cashner on the DL, Kennedy needs to step up his game as the veteran who leads the rest of the young staff. Kennedy has pitched much better than his record shows this season, but has been plagued by the one bad inning. That is why he sits at 2-5 with a 3.60 ERA. It’s time he steps it up, shows his mettle and delivers a couple of shutdown outings.
I predict the Padres find a way to lose one to the Twins, and take 3 of 4 from the Cubs through the weekend. 4-2.