Padres: Oakland Athletics present intriguing AL litmus test

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

The Padres will head to Oakland for a three-game set. The series will be a good measurement against a solid AL opponent.

Coming off a two-game series split with the Angels, the Padres will travel north to take on a very good Oakland Athletics team. The A’s enter the three-game set with a 22-12 record and in first place in the AL West, two games ahead of the Astros. They’ve been extremely difficult to beat at home this year, posting a 13-4 record with a .500 record coming on the road.

The A’s are primarily getting it done with their pitching, highlighted by a third-best 3.51 ERA in baseball. Rookie sensation Jesus Luzardo has been every bit as good as projected, posting a 3.74 ERA, fanning 34 batters in 33.2 innings of work. The A’s rotation actually hasn’t been great, with Luzardo and Chris Bassitt boasting the two best ERAs in the group. However, their bullpen has been deadly, with closer Liam Hendriks already collecting ten saves.

Setup man Joakim Soria has two saves himself with a 1.72 ERA in 15 appearances. Yusmeiro Petit is another name to watch out for, as the 35-year-old has a 1.93 ERA in 17 outings with 11 strikeouts to only three walks.

And despite having several big names in their lineup, the A’s offense is batting .224 as a team, fifth-worst in the league. They are anchored by All-Star third baseman Matt Chapman, who has a .252/.298/.580 line with nine doubles, ten home runs, and 25 RBI this year. Stephen Piscotty has been an unlikely significant contributor this season, hitting .262 with long balls and 26 RBI.

Matt Olson has gotten off a putrid start, hitting just .169 entering Friday, but he does have ten home runs and 22 RBI. The key for the Padres will be to get their runs against the A’s rotation because they will unlikely get much off Oakland’s bullpen.

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Here are the pitching matchups:

  • Game 1: Zach Davies (5-2, 2.61 ERA) vs. Jesus Luzardo (2-1, 3.74 ERA)
  • Game 2: Chris Paddack (3-3, 4.43 ERA) vs. Sean Manaea (2-2, 5.64 ERA)
  • Game 3: Garrett Richards (1-2, 4.63 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (4-1, 4.86 ERA)

Look for Paddack to continue off his impressive performance in his last outing and for Richards to go beyond three innings. A big series for the Padres, and taking two-of-three in Oakland would further justify how real this club is.