Padres: Ryan Weathers looks to prove himself in opener against Dodgers
By Jake Misener
All eyes will be on Petco Park this weekend as the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers go head-to-head for the first time this season. In Friday’s opener, young left-hander Ryan Weathers has a chance to make a huge statement, squaring off against Los Angeles’ Walker Buehler.
This marks Weathers’ first career big league start – and it comes with the Padres looking up at their archival in the NL West standings, trailing the Dodgers by 2 1/2 games entering this weekend.
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The former first-round pick has made a trio of appearances this season out of the bullpen, allowing just one run over six innings of work. But pitching out of the pen and toeing the rubber against one of the best teams in the league are two very different things. That being said, if Weathers can hold his own, it could be a big moment for the Friars.
Right now, San Diego is without Dinelson Lamet (who should return early next week) and Adrian Morejon in the rotation due to injuries. There’s no timetable for Morejon’s return, but in the meantime, San Diego needs someone to step up so we can avoid Craig Stammen turning back the clock in long relief becoming a regular occurrence.
Padres: Ryan Weathers will battle inexperience in his first big league start
In his minor league career, Weathers never pitched above A-ball. Of course, with the MiLB season lost in 2020 due to the pandemic, the lefty spent the summer at the team’s alternate site. In 2019, he turned in a rather pedestrian 4.22 ERA and 1.240 WHIP in 22 starts at Class-A Fort Wayne.
Thirty-two starts. That was the extent of Weathers’ professional career heading into 2021. Now, he gets the chance to insert himself into the conversation in the Padres’ starting rotation which, like every other club’s, need as much depth as possible to weather the grind that comes with returning to a 162-game season.
Expect Weathers to attack the Dodgers with a mix of largely fastballs and sliders. He’s shown the ability to change the eye levels of hitters – and he’ll have to hit his spots if he wants to keep their powerful lineup from doing damage on Friday.
All eyes on you, kid. Let’s see what you’ve got.