It's close to over between me and the series previews. It's not them, it's me. I've changed. We've grown apart. I'll still do the occasional preview before a series that really inspires me -- certainly just about every Dodgers series would qualify -- but the idea behind a preview for every single series isn't sustainable. We're agreeing to see other topics.
Well, what a coincidence. Looks like a Padres series preview is on the docket. That's a total coincidence, I promise.
There are 67 games left. Twenty-five of them will be against the Padres or Rockies. I guess I should write "at least 25", seeing as if there's a one-game playoff to see who wins the Wild Card, that'd count in the regular-season totals. So at least 25 games are going to be against the Rockies and Padres. That's over a third of the season. Da da dada da da da da Rockies, da da dada da da da da Padres, Rockies, Padres, Rockies, Padres, polka dot polka dot polka dot, Padres.
Just look at the September schedule. So much Padres. So much Rockies.
Ostensibly, this is good because the Rockies and Padres have been horrible this year. At this very moment, there is a Rockies starting pitcher suspended in mid-air, with his both of his socks flying off his feet, under a hilarious display of onomatopoeia. But we'll get to them later. We're talking about the Padres now, and they aren't bad because they didn't have any pitching to start the season. They're bad because they have an entire rotation on the disabled list. Literally!
- Anthony Bass
- Cory Luebke
- Tim Stauffer
- Joe Weiland
- Andrew Cashner
I'm not going to say that'd be a great rotation. But it's not a bad one. Not at all. It might be a pretty good one. Instead, they're all on the DL. And not with a bunch of sissy complaints about their cuticles or toes. They're dealing with some serious, stick-a-piece-of-a-cadaver-in-you injuries.
Instead, they're trotting out Kip Wells and Ross Ohlendorf every fifth day. I mean … they have no choice. The Padres, that is. But it's not like Wells and Ohlendorf have a choice, either. If they want to pitch above Double-A, it needs to be with the Padres. The last time Kip Wells had an ERA better than the league average, Damian Moss was on the Giants. But the good news is that Wells walked more than he struck out in the PCL this year, so ... yeah.
Now that we've established the Padres are in a tough spot, let's look at the pitchers the Giants will see. Because they're going to miss Wells and Ohlendorf.
Clayton Richard will make his 678th career start against the Giants. He usually does well against them.
Edinson Volquez is basically Jonathan Sanchez from 2010, for better and for worse. Over his last five starts, he's 3-0 with a 1.34 ERA. The Padres have won all five games.
Jason Marquis has a career ERA of 4.60. Against the Giants, his career ERA is 3.07. His lowest ERAs are against, in order, the Mariners, A's, Dodgers, Giants. If he pitched in a park like Petco five years ago, he'd be making $10 million per year. As is, he's having something of a renaissance, posting the lowest walk rate and highest strikeout rate of his career.
Those are the three pitchers the Giants will face. Do you feel especially confident against any of them? Do you look at the names and think, eh, the Giants have this locked up? Of course not. Richard and Marquis are hit-their-spots guys who thrive on teams making weak contact out of the strike zone. Volquez is at his best when he gets other teams to chase.
Basically, the these three are like a guy who walks around shouting "NO PICKLES FOR ME, THANKS" wherever he goes. At the post office, "NO PICKLES FOR ME, THANKS." At the bus stop, "NO PICKLES FOR ME, THANKS." People avoid him at all costs. It's pretty sad to watch. But then he gets in line at a burger joint, orders a hamburger, and shouts, "NO PICKLES FOR ME, THANKS." And the cashier nods and removes the pickles from his order. At that exact moment, he made sense. That's how it is with these three pitchers. They don't make a lot of sense until they run into a team that hacks. Don't be the burger joint in this analogy, Giants.
And all that stuff up there about how the Giants should do well against the Rockies and Padres, so the unbalanced schedule might be a good thing? The baseball gods pick their teeth with that crap. They love it. They're just waiting for someone to laugh at the Padres. Because I'll tell you what, the Padres have a few things going for them. Logan Forsythe is doing on-basey things. Chase Headley has been fantastic, and so has Carlos Quentin. Yasmani Grandal has been doing what people think Hector Sanchez has been doing. There's a little talent to work with.
I'm not taking this series for granted. Nope. Maybe it's 2010 post-traumatic stress talking, but the Padres still scare the jeepers out of me. The dunk-dunk-bloops still haunt my dreams. David Eckstein is on every Padres team, even if only in spirit.
Hitter to watch:
The Padres are pinning a lot of hopes on their young first baseman, Yonder Alonso. He's been walking a bit, and his overall numbers are respectable enough, but he isn't hitting for power, and he strikes out more than the team would like. He hit a miserable .218/.277/.264 in June, but the Padres kept running him out there, and now he's having his best month of the season, despite looking like the worst hitter in baseball for an entire month.
There's no point to that last paragraph, or anything. Just a harmless note about an opposing team.
Pitcher to watch:
I don't know. Clayton Richard? Why would you want to watch Clayton Richard, though? You sure picked a stupid hobby.
There will be bloop.