The San Diego Padres have a much more manageable series this week, as the Philadelphia Phillies come to town for three games.
It didn’t really seem fair when the Padres had to travel to Dodger Stadium to take on their division rivals who have already clinched a winning record in 2017. Nonetheless, the weekend wasn’t a complete loss, as San Diego took one of three games and were competitive in the other two. Now, they get to return home.
The homestand for the Friars begins Monday with the series opener against Philadelphia. Then, another tough series will follow as the Washington Nationals come to town for a four game weekend set. First, we focus on the Philadelphia series, and break down the pitching matchups.
Monday, 7:10: Eickhoff vs. Wood
Travis Wood takes the mound for the Padres in the opener. Wood has had a season to forget with the Royals, and hasn’t shown any signs of a drastic turnaround since being dealt to San Diego as part of a six player deal. Likewise, Philadelphia starter Jerad Eickhoff has had his struggles. With a 3-7 record, the right-hander hasn’t had any more success in the win column than the rest of the staff.
There shouldn’t be a shortage of offense in this one, especially early on. The club that gets into the opposition’s bullpen will not only have had more success against the starter, but will set themselves up for a more successful series offensively.
Tuesday, 7:10: Lamet vs. Leiter Jr.
Hopefully, San Diego will enter Tuesday’s game with an opportunity to take the series before Wednesday. But no matter what, they should have a good chance in the middle game of this series. Dinelson Lamet has pitched exceptionally as of late, and he opposes a young pitcher who has just moved into the rotation in Mark Leiter Jr.
If the Friars come through early offensively and Lamet continues to make strides as a starter, Tuesday’s game could be a fun one. Though beating the Phillies may not be the most satisfying of victories, the Padres could benefit from beating up on one of the few teams they really should beat.
Wednesday, 12:40: Richard vs. Pivetta
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2017 has taken a sharp turn for the worse for left-handed starter Clayton Richard. Now 5-12, the 33-year-old who was once regarded as the ace of the staff has struggled to avoid big hits. Currently, he has surrendered the most hits in the National League, 188. This isn’t new for Richard, as he accomplished the same feat in 2012, while also allowing the most homers. But this season is a poor time for the southpaw to have such struggles, as he is supposed to be the leader of this staff.
Richard will look to rebound in this one and begin a strong finish to 2017 before his contract expires. He will be opposed by Nick Pivetta, another Philly starter who has struggled, to the tune of a 6.07 ERA on the season. If the Padres can expose Pivetta’s weaknesses early in this one, they can still come away with the victory.
No series is easy, especially for a team 15 games under .500 in the middle of August. But hosting the Phillies is quite an opportunity for San Diego to get back into the win column. They have been playing better as of late, but that hasn’t necessarily translated to victories as the last two contests with the Dodgers show. These next three will be a good test to see if the Friars can finish games against an inferior opponent.