San Diego Padres: Breaking Down The Opposing Pitchers

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Jhoulys Chacin
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Jhoulys Chacin /

Opening Day is finally here! The San Diego Padres begin their much-anticipated 2018 season with a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers. Here’s who the Friars will match up against over the next three days.

Happy Opening Day, Friar faithful! The San Diego Padres return to the diamond today in a baseball game that counts! Opening Day first pitch is slated for 1:10 pm PT with Clayton Richard climbing the bump for game 1 of 162. Who are the Milwaukee Brewers throwing out against the Padres? Grab your coffee (or morning beer, no judgment) and let’s take a look at the Brewers’ probable pitchers for this series.

A big thank you to Max Neibaur of Reviewing The Brew for his personal insight into each of these pitchers! Please be sure to check out our fellow FanSided friends and their outstanding year-round coverage of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Game One: RHP Chase Anderson

Chase Anderson, 30, is coming off a breakout 2017 campaign that saw him strike out a career-high 23.4% of opposing hitters and post career-lows in ERA (2.74) and FIP (3.58). Despite missing some time with an oblique-strain, Anderson didn’t miss a beat. Finishing with a 12-4 record in ’17, Anderson is the fifth Brewer pitcher over the last five seasons to make an Opening Day start. It’s the first of his career.

What led to this career-season for Anderson? According to Max Neibaur, “He put on muscle during last year’s off-season. He came into camp throwing harder. He combined that with a new approach that worked up in the zone more. This led to the breakout 2017 that you see in his stats.”

His fastball velocity also improved from 91.1 mph to 93.1 mph. He complemented that with increased use of his cutter and curveball, leading to a higher ground-ball rate and an impressive 8.6% HR/FB rate.

Anderson will be a great first test for the Padres. The key for the San Diego lineup will be to attack Anderson early and not let him utilize his highly effective strikeout pitches.

Game 2: RHP Jhoulys Chacin

Hello, dear friend! Chacin, last year’s Opening Day starter for the San Diego Padres, is now hoping to find success with his third team in three seasons. Making 32 starts in 2017, Chacin put up great numbers in San Diego. He won 13 contests and posted a 2.3 WAR, however, Chacin gave up 3.59 BB/9 innings and despite a 3.89 ERA, he recorded a 4.26 FIP and a near career-high 4.54 xFIP.

Here’s Max’s take on the new Brewer’s pitcher, “The Brewers signed Chacin this past off-season. He throws a wicked slider and had a decent first Spring Training with the club. He started his career playing his home games in Coors and has been a journeyman since then. The Brewers hope Chacin can give them innings and keep them in games. The team sees value in that.”

He’s largely a two-pitch pitcher (89% of pitches were a fastball or slider), who gives up a lot of walks, however, Chacin is comfortable at Petco Park. His friendly surroundings and 1.79 ERA at Petco Park may help him feel very comfortable in his first start. It will be up to the Padres to not roll out the welcome mat, remain patient, and wait for their pitch against their former teammate.

Game Three: LHP Brent Suter

Suter, 28, made 22 starts last season between AAA and the big leagues. He worked 81 innings with the Brewers, striking out nearly 19% of hitters and walking just 6.5%.

According to  Reviewing The Brew’s Max Neibaur, “Suter is a quick-working lefty who can pile up strikeouts when he gets in a rhythm. He was used more as a swingman last season, but he pitched well when they needed him to start. He begins the season as the third starter, but he could return to a swingman role later in 2018. His fastball hovers in the mid-80s, but he keeps hitters off-balance. Suter showed up in camp with an extra 20 lbs of muscle to increase durability for 2018. Last season, he got hit harder as he tired during games. He hopes the extra muscle makes him stay stronger longer during a game.”

Suter doesn’t throw hard (85 mph fastball velocity) but is aided by his slightly unorthodox delivery and late-life on his pitches. He doesn’t have a lot of major league experience to draw from, however, we do know he gives up the long-ball.

Next: Friars on Base Interviews Franmil Reyes

With a scheduled off-day on Sunday, San Diego can be aggressive out of the gate as they look to take this opening series and get their 2018 season off to a solid start against a good Milwaukee team.

Again, thank you to Max from Reviewing The Brew for his personal insight into each of these pitchers. Give these guys a follow and check out their work!