Padres: Three questions heading into Mariners series

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(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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In a change of events, the Padres will host the Mariners at Petco Park after originally planning to play in Seattle.

The Padres and Mariners series was originally planned to be played in Seattle as part of a home and away series with the AL West in the league’s revised schedule format. However, air quality issues have forced the series to Petco, where the Mariners took two-of-three before the trade deadline. Speaking of, these two clubs hooked up on a couple of deals, with the blockbuster trade centered around Austin Nola headlining the deadline.

Since then, the Mariners have generally held the same trajectory, entering this series, winning just four of their last ten games and sitting at a 22-28 record overall. The Padres, prior to the Dodgers series, couldn’t be touched, winning eight straight, getting great efforts from their starting pitchers and the bullpen. But as these two teams prepare to meet again on Friday, here are three questions to monitor throughout the series.

1. Will the Padres still play at a high level following Dodgers series?

There’s no doubt that series with the Dodgers hurt. After taking an emotional game one on Monday, highlighted by Trent Grisham‘s home run that the Dodger dugout didn’t view too kindly, the Padres dropped the next two games. In the series finale, defensive woes led to free outs for LA, and they made San Diego pay for it.

The Dodgers have clinched a playoff spot and have a 4.0 game lead in the NL West. With nine games remaining, the Padres are likely to finish in second place. Will that impact their psyche? I’d like to see them shake off that series and continue full steam ahead. They will, eventually, have to beat the Dodgers in the postseason, though.

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2. Can Fernando Tatis Jr. break his slump?

El Nino may have lost the NL MVP with his recent funk. Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves has surged past him in several categories. And if the Padres team wasn’t so deep, Tatis’ slump could have caused the Friars to tailspin as well. Over his last 12 games, he’s hitting a measly .190 and .241 over his last 24 games. Let’s see if he can regain form heading towards the postseason.

3. How will Chris Paddack respond?

Paddack’s up and down year continues. In his last start, he left prematurely due to a sprained right ankle. His fastball velocity was noticeably down, which makes sense from the injury perspective. The 24-year-old is set to kick off the series on Friday night, and while his K/9 is nearly the same as last year, he’s allowing approximately 2.5 more hits per nine innings and has given up 11 long balls in 49.1 innings of work. Paddack’s ERA sits at an inflated 4.74 on the shortened season, and he could be on the outside, looking in on the postseason rotation.

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