San Diego Padres vs. Boston Red Sox series preview

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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 7: Boston Red Sox players celebrate after beating the San Diego Padres 7-2 in a baseball game at PETCO Park on September 7, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 7: Boston Red Sox players celebrate after beating the San Diego Padres 7-2 in a baseball game at PETCO Park on September 7, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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The San Diego Padres welcome the MLB champion Boston Red Sox to Petco Park for a three-game series. Here’s our Padres vs. Red Sox series preview.

The San Diego Padres are welcoming the world champion Boston Red Sox on Friday, kicking off a three-game series at Petco Park. This is Boston’s first trip to San Diego since 2016, which is also the last time the two teams faced each other in any ballpark.

A lot has changed since then for both organizations.

The Red Sox (67-60) are having a down season in comparison to their 108-win campaign a year ago that earned them another World Series title.  Currently 16.5 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees and six games back of a wild card spot, it’s do or die time for them.

Boston’s offense has led the way for the team in 2019, ranking in the league’s Top 5 in hits, runs, doubles, average and slugging percentage.  Their offense is a juggernaut, including the likes of 2018 MVP Mookie Betts, third baseman Rafael Devers, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and DH/OF J.D. Martinez.  Collectively, those four players average out to a .307 average, 26 home runs and 84 RBI.

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Pitching is where Boston has struggled this season, leaving much to be desired from both their starters and their bullpen.

They are ranked 19th in major league baseball in ERA at 4.70 and have had zero consistency from anyone on their staff.  Last year’s team was led by Chris Sale in the rotation and former Padre Craig Kimbrel as the closer.

2019 has seen a shaky Sale, who posted a 4.40 ERA before being shut down with an elbow injury.  Boston also chose not to re-sign Kimbrel, leaving a gaping hole in their bullpen that has struggled to hold leads. They’re coming into the series with 22 blown saves.

So what do all these statistics mean for their series with the San Diego Padres?

Friday’s Game 1 will give fans a great pitching matchup with Boston lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (14-5; 4.10 ERA) facing Padres ace Chris Paddack (7-6; 3.44 ERA). Paddack leads all of baseball in strike rate and has the better ERA, so he provides the best chance to tame Boston’s offense.

Game 2 on Saturday features San Diego’s Dinelson Lamet (2-2; 3.95 ERA) still trying to get his groove back against Nathan Eovaldi (1-0; 6.69 ERA), who is himself getting back up to speed after recently returning to the Red Sox rotation.

While Boston’s starter for Game 3 was not announced at the time of publication, the Friars are expected to run out Joey Lucchesi (8-7; 4.20 ERA). The big plus here is that Lucchesi is pitching on six days’ rest.

The San Diego Padres offense will be their biggest question mark; this is a team that scored just seven runs in their most recent three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds, losing two games in the process.

They’re strong where the Red Sox are weak, and their biggest issue is Boston’s best asset, so this will be an exciting series. The Padres have a great opportunity to expose their young players to a top-notch team, and perhaps steal some games in the process. San Diego might not be headed for the playoffs, but they can surely sour Boston’s chances.

Next. Padres' possible September callups. dark

For complete coverage of the San Diego Padres’ 2019 season, continue following Friars on Base all season long.

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