Mar 31, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view during the national anthem before an opening day baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres (24-30) are going to Chicago to face the White Sox (28-27) for their first trip to U.S. Cellular Field since 2003. Carlos Quentin should feel right at home in that batter’s box. He slugged 107 home runs for the White Sox, 59 of those came at U.S. Cellular Field. Bud Black has hinted that Quentin will DH in the 3-game series.
The Padres lost the series 11 years ago. This time around, the Padres throw Ian Kennedy (3-6, 3.59 ERA) against John Danks (3-4, 4.90 ERA) in Game 1. Kennedy is coming off of a strong 6 inning, 6 strikeout performance against the Cubs. Game 2 features Tyson Ross (5-4, 2.97 ERA) against the Brazilian, Andre Rienzo (4-1, 3.95 ERA). Ross looks to bounce back from his shaky start in Phoenix. The finale will have Eric Stults (2-5, 4.92 ERA) against Jose Quintana (3-4, 3.61 ERA).
U.S. Cellular Field is considered one of the more hitter-friendly parks. Hopefully this park will aid in the continuing improvement of the Padres’ offense. Also, the pitching needs to get back on track. The Padres have to feel good about the 3 pitchers they are throwing at the White Sox.
The White Sox are 7th in MLB in home runs with 56. They are also 7th with a .261 team batting average. The Padres will avoid their best hitter, rookie Jose Abreu. He is on the DL. So that means the White Sox will be without 15 HRs and 42 RBI. Alexei Ramirez has been hitting very well, with 7 HRs and a .327 batting average. He has also swiped 10 bases.
The Padres have to feel good about their bats heading into this series. Everth Cabrera, Tommy Medica and Carlos Quentin will look to continue their recent success. Quentin could be the key at DH to winning this series. The Diamondbacks are getting dangerously close to passing the Padres for last place. Only 2.5 games separate the two teams. The Padres must win this series. With the 3 good starters the Padres will throw and the increasingly hot bats, the Padres have a good chance.