A look at the pitching matchups this weekend as the San Diego Padres travel east to the city of brotherly love to take on the Phillies.
The San Diego Padres surprised a lot of folks this past week when they took two of three games on the road from the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians. This weekend, they no longer get to play spoiler, but now assume the role of favorite.
The Padres travel to Philadelphia to take on the worst team in baseball, the 28-56 Phillies. With the All-Star break just next week, finishing strong by taking care of business in this series is a key momentum builder for the Friars coming out of the break.
Here are the anticipated starting pitching matchups and what to expect for each game this weekend.
Friday, 3:35 PM: Richard vs. Pivetta
The series begins with a favorable pitching matchup for San Diego with their ace on the mound. Clayton Richard may only be 5-8 and have a concerning ERA of 4.85, but he is the rotation’s strongest starter and has proven his ability to adjust to early struggles over the past several weeks.
Nick Pivetta is one of Philadelphia’s stronger starting options, but is just 2-4 on the year also with an ERA of 4.85. The right-hander is vulnerable early on in appearances, so the Padres can capitalize in the opening innings and hopefully give their ace a chance to put the club on his back to victory.
Saturday, 1:05 PM: Chacin vs Nola
The middle game of this weekend set features another one of San Diego’s finest members of their pitching staff. Jhoulys Chacin has held opposition to approximately an earned run every two innings, and currently holds an even record through 14 decisions. Backing Richard the night before, Chacin has a chance to remove any doubt in this series before the finale even begins.
Opposing Chacin will be Aaron Nola. In 12 starts, the 24-year-old has accumulated a 6-5 record with a 3.73 ERA. Clearly, the Padres may need to rely more on their pitching in this one. But the key for the lineup is to be patient, driving up Nola’s pitch count in the early stages of the contest. The earlier they get into a weak Phillies’ bullpen, the better chance they will have to produce enough runs to come away with the win.
Sunday, 10:35 AM: Cahill vs. TBD
The Phillies and Padres conclude the pre All-Star break 2017 season with a Sunday matinee and series finale at Citizens Bank Field.
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For the Padres, 29-year-old right-hander Trevor Cahill will be back on the mound after making his return from the disabled list on Tuesday, a short but effective scoreless outing in a 1-0 win. Cahill will look to make progress in this second start back against a very manageable lineup.
The Philadelphia pitcher opposing the veteran has yet to be determined, which is more good news for the Padres. On paper, everything about Sunday’s game stacks up in the Friars’ favor. The only question is whether or not they will let an early start on the east coast get to them, and whether or not they will be playing their hardest with a trip home for their All-Star break approaching.
The Padres have a chance this weekend to get within nine games of .500 at the All-Star break. Though this of course doesn’t yet make them legitimate contenders, it does move them towards relevancy and gives the young team confidence. Hopefully San Diego can take advantage of one of the few times they are favored against a weaker opponent. Go Padres!