Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres finished up a bad start to the week with a lousy weekend against the Washington Nationals.
They hope to right the ship as they head out east this week for three against the Philadelphia Phillies, followed by three in New York against the Mets. The Phillies are scuffling in the bottom of the NL East this season, as Ryan Howard has turned into an old man. He is at 11 home runs after only hitting 11 last season, but only hitting .220 and an OBP under .300. The pitching has been terrible, ranking in the bottom-third of all MLB teams. The hitting? About the same spot, all of which adds up to bad news. They do still have Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee in the rotation, and Jonathan Papelbon at the end of the bullpen. I expect this club to break up at the trade deadline, as the Yankees still seek a second baseman and Chase Utley is playing like it’s 2008 again.
The New York Mets were dealt a big blow to 2014 last season when Matt Harvey underwent surgery last summer and is out for most of this season, if not all of it. However, the pitching staff is doing a good job this year, and holding the Mets in games. They sit under .500, but within 5 games of the division, which neither the Braves, Nationals, or Marlins seem to want to run away with amidst mediocrity. The bullpen has been their biggest weakness after losing closer Bobby Parnell to injury, but like the Phillies, the biggest problem is getting to the 9th with a lead.
These are three teams trying to figure out their identity. Do the Phillies need to overhaul and start over? Are the Mets just staying the course and hoping to make a surprise run in 2015 with a healthy Matt Harvey? Who are these Padres? Can the pitching and hitting click on all cylinders to make a run at a wild card spot? Lots of questions – this week brings some answers as we head toward the July All-Star break.
Player to Watch:
Huston Street: Street continues to dominate at the end of the bullpen. With Joaquin Benoit signed through next year, Nick Vincent a possibility as closer of the future, is Street playing himself into a July trade deal for the Padres? He is now third in the National League in saves with 18, made all the more impressive for a Padres’ team that only has 28 wins!
The Padres will have a solid week, finishing 4-2. Cashner stabilizing the rotation helps everyone else, and Tyson Ross is certain to rebound from his worst start of the season.