The San Diego Padres begin a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday, so how do the Padres match up with the Pirates?
After a brief but successful homestand, the San Diego Padres get back on the road this weekend, facing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. It’s a chance for the Padres to continue their recent hot streak—but it won’t be easy.
The Pirates are in a position similar to where the Padres were in early June. They’ve alternated wins and losses recently, after going through a seven-game losing streak from June 7-13. The team is last in the National League Central standings, and they have a 5-12 record this month.
That would seem like an excellent opportunity for San Diego to pick up some easy wins, but the Pirates have some offensive standouts who could be difficult for the Padres’ inconsistent pitching staff.
First baseman Josh Bell is currently leading the National League in doubles (27), extra-base hits (50), and runs batted in (66). Bell cooled off in the team’s latest series against Detroit, going just 1-for-8, though he did hit one home run—and if he finds his swing again, could be a major thorn in the Padres’ side.
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Most of the buzz in Pittsburgh currently surrounds rookie outfielder Bryan Reynolds. Reynolds will have spent just over two months in the major leagues when the series begins on June 21, but he’s already in the headlines—having smashed the winning three-run homer in the Pirates’ last game.
The left fielder has racked up 64 hits in just 53 games, and has a .362 batting average with a .418 on-base percentage. Of course, it’s still early days in his career, but Reynolds has all the momentum at the moment.
If Padres pitchers can handle Bell and Reynolds, they’ll be off to a good start in this series. But how does San Diego’s pitching stack up?
The starting matchups favor the Padres. Two of the Pirates’ three starters have losing records—Game 1 starter Joe Musgrove (4-7) and Game 2’s Chris Archer (3-6). All three pitchers starting for Pittsburgh have ERA’s over four.
For the Friars, Eric Lauer (5-6) will need to open the series with a rebound performance after he was disastrous in his last start against Colorado, when he didn’t make it out of the third inning.
Chris Paddack is rumored to be Saturday’s starter, though the Padres haven’t announced one yet. Paddack would give the Padres a strong chance to win Game 2, if he comes back with the dazzling stuff he had earlier in the season.
Joey Lucchesi (6-4) is coming off seven shutout innings versus Milwaukee, which is good because he gets the rubber game against Pirates rookie Steven Brault (3-1). The Padres should be able to win at least one of the three games, but could conceivably pick up a series win or a sweep if Lauer or Lucchesi is reliable.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that the last time these two teams met in May, the Pirates took three out of four games from the Padres at PETCO Park—and the one win the Padres nabbed was a close one (as you can revisit in the video below).
Pittsburgh’s been in a bad way since then, but the Padres will still have to figure them out if they want to keep their four-game winning streak alive.
The Padres vs. Pirates series begins Friday at 4:05 p.m. PT/7:05 p.m. ET. For complete coverage of the San Diego Padres’ 2019 season, continue following Friars on Base all season long.