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Giants at Padres, 3/31

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Jeff Samardzija (RHP) vs. Chris Paddack (RHP)

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Giants recorded their first win of 2019 last night, and it was a good game. Runs have always been tough to come by at Petco Park, and the Padres’ ability to scour their organization for left-handed pitchers to stymie the Giants’ lineup HAS FINALLY HIT A WALL BECAUSE HAHA TODAY THEY’RE STARTING A RIGHT-HANDED PITCHER.

But wait.

Righty Chris Paddack makes his Major League debut with a lot of hype. This, uh... this won’t be easy for the Giants just because they’ll have the chance to field their normal lineup.

What numbers are Peter Gammons citing? That’s Paddack’s minor league career so far. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 2015 draft by the Marlins (the Giants would take RHP Cory Taylor 10 picks later) and traded to the Padres back in 2016 in the trade that sent Fernando Rodney to Miami. Oh great. Another A-ball or Double-A prospect. Do the Padres really have this much disrespect for the Giants?

In a word: no.

That was just last week against the Mariners in a preseason exhibition. He looks more than capable of blanking major league hitters.

MLB Pipeline has him as San Diego’s 5th-best prospect and 33rd-best in Major League Baseball (Joey Bart is #22). From their scouting report:

Paddack’s arsenal is unique because he pitches almost exclusively with his fastball and changeup, albeit extraordinarily well. He can dissect the zone with his heater as well as just about any young hurler, sitting in the low 90s and bumping 95-96 mph.

All series long, the Padres starters have befuddled the Giants hitters with a two-pitch combination — Lauer with a fastball-cutter combo on Thursday and Lucchesi with a sinker-changeup combo on Friday — a real Trevor Hoffman routine every night. And just to go back to yesterday’s table:

The Giants dropped to 16-for-64 on this list, still second to the Rays by percentages, but take a look at the number of times the Giants have faced such a starter! That’s second to the Mets, who have fared much better against these newbie arms.

Anyway, here’s the lineup that will try to break the Giants out of their rookie starter slump:

Meanwhile, Jeff Samardzija will attempt to prove his shoulder is fine and he’ll be able to handle the workload of a major league starter. Again, Spring Training stats really don’t matter — Bumgarner had a terrible spring finale (10 H, 7 ER in 2 IP) against the Royals before looking like an ace on Thursday to open the season — but Samardzija did lead the team in innings pitched (22.2) and had a 3.97 ERA for his efforts, a number slightly inflated by his spring finale (4 ER in 3.2 IP). In that final spring start, though, his velocity hung around the 90-92 range and as a pitcher who stays in the strike zone most of the time, that’s not a good value — not going to overpower many hitters at that speed.

The Giants are paying a lot of money (~$40 million through next season) for a pitcher who can, at best, be league average, but if you take the salary out of the analysis, we’re still left with the fact that the Giants need as many capable arms as they can find if they’re going to tread water with their offense. Samardzija will try to bounce back after an injury-sunk 2018 against this Padres lineup: