Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Diego Padres Series Preview
By Mike Lacy
Ian Kennedy. Image Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Phillies welcome the San Diego Padres to town for a three-game series. Here’s a look at what they’re up against.
What’s the deal with the Padres?
Huston Street. Image Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Much like the Phillies, the Padres are having a miserable season. They are currently 28-35, which is good for 4th place in the National League West.
The Padres may actually be struggling worse than the Phillies on offense. Their team batting average is a laughably bad .216, and their 195 runs scored ranks 30th in the majors.
The bad news for the Phillies hitters is that the Padres’ pitchers are actually decent. And if the Padres actually have a lead heading into the ninth, closer Huston Street has done a good job at preserving it.
This is especially bad news for the Phillies, because when they inevitably attempt to deal Jonathan Papelbon at the trade deadline, most teams may view Street as a cheaper alternative.
Padres player who isn’t completely horrible
Before this year, left fielder Seth Smith was looked at as a decent offensive player. He had four seasons of double-digit home runs (with the caveat being that they happened while he played for the Rockies), but he couldn’t seem to seize a full-time job.
The Padres took a chance on Smith when they traded for him this offseason, and thus far, he’s rewarded their faith. He’s gotten on base at an impressive .402 clip, and has six home runs to go along with it.
In a lineup that doesn’t feature many threats, Smith has been a true standout.
Padres player who is horrible
Jedd Gyorko. Image Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
After a promising rookie season in which he hit 23 home runs, the Padres thought they had a future star on their hands in second baseman Jedd Gyorko. Either Gyorko is merely going through a sophomore slump, or the Padres may have hitched their wagon to the wrong star.
Gyorko is hitting a measly .162, which is a big reason the Padres’ overall team average is so low. He isn’t compensating for the low average with much power either. His five home runs and .270 slugging percentage are not very impressive either.
San Diego Padres (28-35) at Philadelphia Phillies (25-36)
Game time: 7:10 PM
Starting pitchers: Ian Kennedy (5-6) vs. A.J. Burnett (3-5)
After a 1-5 road trip, the Phillies look to get their season turned around at home. They’ll attempt to do it against a weak opponent, but playing the similarly downtrodden Reds didn’t seem to help them much this past weekend.
If the Phillies want to get straightened out, they’ll need better performances from their starting pitchers, and tonight’s starter in particular. When they signed A.J. Burnett late in the offseason, the Phillies thought they were getting a solid #3 pitcher. But aside from a stretch earlier in the season, Burnett has struggled, mostly due to shaky command.
Burnett will be opposed by Ian Kennedy. Kennedy entered the season looking to rebound from a poor 2013 season, and despite carrying a losing record, he’s been solid. His 88 strikeouts rank sixth in the National League, although they have caused an elevated pitch count in most games.
Link of Interest
Gas Lamp Ball – Padres pick Johnny Manziel to show they like to have fun
The Padres made a little bit of news when they chose Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny “Football” Manziel in the first year player draft last week. They just wanted to provide a bit of fun for their fans, and figured that wasting a 28th round pick was worth it. But was it the right move for a team that has traditionally struggled to find usable talent in the draft?
Tweet of Importance
Like I said, they really need to see better performance out of Burnett.