Padres: Three things to know ahead of Mariners series

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

The Padres are riding a seven-game winning streak entering their series with Seattle on Tuesday. Here are three things to know about the Mariners ballclub.

After a well-deserved off-day on Monday, the Padres are back to work, hosting the Seattle Mariners for a three-game set at Petco Park. It will mark the final home series before the team embarks on a lengthy road trip. The Friars are winners of seven straight with a four-game sweep over the Rangers and a three-game sweep over the Astros.

The Padres answered the bell from last week’s dumpster fire in Arizona and avoided being sellers at the deadline. We recently discussed that it’s time for general manager AJ Preller to hold up his end and acquire help for the homestretch. But as the Padres now shift their attention to a rebuilding Mariners squad, it has all the makings of a trap series.

Coming off two critical series, the Mariners are 11-19 through the halfway point. Unlike last year’s hot start before the eventual fade, this year’s club has been terrible from the get-go, which makes it critical to take at least 2-of-3 in this series.

Below are the projected pitching matchups.

Game 1: Marco Gonzalez (2-2, 3.34 ERA) vs. Chris Paddack (2-2, 4.26 ERA)

Game 2: Taijuan Walker (2-2, 4.00 ERA) vs. Dinelson Lamet (2-1, 1.89 ERA)

Game 3: Yusei Kikuchi (0-2, 6.30 ERA) vs. Garrett Richards (1-1, 3.52 ERA)

There’s no question that the Padres have favorable pitching matchups, but they’ll need to execute on the field. Let’s look at three tidbits regarding this Mariners club.

1. Mariners catchers are 0-for-19 in caught stealing

Wow. If there ever a series for the Padres to push the envelope in the stolen base department, this would be it. Austin Nola has logged the majority of the innings behind home plate, and he’s 0-for-12 throwing out runners. Fernando Tatis Jr. leads the way with six stolen bases for the Padres, with Trent Grisham not far behind him with four. Does Jorge Mateo get a start in this series to absolutely wreak havoc on the bases? (H/t to @Samtheman2k for pointing this stat out)

2. Kyle Lewis is a problem

Despite a team batting average of just .224 – fifth-worst in the league – the Mariners have a budding superstar in centerfielder Kyle Lewis. The 24-year-old was the team’s first-round pick of the 2016 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut last season, and through the first 29 games in 2020, Lewis is posting a robust .368/.456/.585 line with seven bombs and 19 RBI. He’s not much of a stolen base threat, but he has excellent plate discipline for a kid as young as he is (18 BB to 28 K).

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3. Taylor Williams is a legit closer

The former Milwaukee Brewer was picked up off waivers before the start of spring training, and he’s transitioned well into the Mariners’ closer role. With Milwaukee, Taylor Williams had a 5.23 ERA in 71 career appearances, but he’s pitching much better with his new ballclub. Through 12 appearances, the 28-year-old has a 3.00 ERA (2.88 FIP) with six saves, fanning 17 batters to just four walks. He’s allowed only one long ball on the year, and his 12.8 K/9 ranks third-best in baseball with relievers who have at least six saves.

Let’s hope the Padres don’t give him that chance in this series. Keep the winning streak alive!