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Series Preview: San Francisco Giants

Photo: © Keeton10 | Dreamstime.com

Even if you get to see Giancarlo Stanton hit three home runs in a series, getting swept by the Miami Marlins isnt fun.  Still, that’s exactly what happened to the Padres on their three game series in the Sunshine State, which concluded their 2-4 road trip in unceremonious fashion. San Diego now comes home for their longest homestand of the year (11 games), which will kick off with a three game set against the San Francisco Giants on Monday night at 7:10 PT.

 

Monday: RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.67 ERA) vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacín (11-9, 4.10 ERA)

Alright, it’s another home start for Chacín! Though he was thoroughly roughed up in his last start against the Cardinals (a road start, of course), we can promptly throw that out the window and look forward to the dominance that Chacín will inevitably have tonight. That’s how it works, right? The numbers don’t lie; at home this year, he’s 7-2 with a 1.86 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, and a 7.2 K/9. What’s more, Chacín is also undefeated against the Giants in 2017, 3-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four starts against the divisional foe. The Padres couldn’t be happier about the returns they’ve gotten from the veteran this season, and it could mean a re-signing in the offseason, even though the Padres have multiple rotation spots likely locked up for 2018 (Travis Wood, Dinelson Lamet, Luis Perdomo, and, uh… Matt Strahm?). Look for another quality start from the 29-year-old tonight.

Opposing the Chacín is Giants 2015 offseason signing Jeff Samardzija. A career innings eater, the righty has struggled again this season as the third starter in this Giants rotation, and was considered a non-waiver trade deadline candidate, before the Giants decided to hang onto him for the rest of the season. Nevertheless, “The Shark” could be in for another rough night on the road, with his 3-7 record and 5.05 ERA, which is typically common of Giants pitchers when not pitching in the spacious, pitcher-friendly AT&T Park, where home runs go to die. Even though there’s a chance he will be traded this offseason, both Samardzija and the Giants will look to finish strong in a 2017 season that can only be classified as a colossal failure.

 

Tuesday: LHP Matt Moore (4-12, 5.38 ERA) vs. RHP Luis Perdomo (6-8, 4.84 ERA)

The second game of the series features Matt Moore, another San Francisco starter with a disappointing 2017, and Luis Perdomo, a 24-year-old righty coming off a solid performance against his former organization the last time out.

It was Perdomo who threw in the series finale against the Cardinals, taking a no-decision after throwing six strong innings of two run ball. These are the flashes that we’ve been accustomed to seeing from the young starter, who is still very much in his developmental stage after being selected in the Rule 5 Draft in late 2015. Since joining the Padres, Perdomo hasn’t encountered a whole lot of success, but has shown that he is capable of being a Major League pitcher, and the Padres seem perfectly fine with letting him develop at the highest level of ball despite the rumors that he could spend part of 2017 in El Paso. He’s continued to battle this season, and should look to have a rotation spot locked up for the 2018 season.

The lefty Moore starts the middle game for the Giants, and he has been mired in a funk for the whole of the 2017 season, with only four wins to his credit. The reason for Moore’s poor campaign this year may be due to numerous peripherals regarding his fastball. Here’s a look at Moore’s fastball stats, comparing 2016 to 2017:

Avg. Velocity: 93.6 (2016) vs. 91.9 (2017)

Strikeout Percentage: 17.0% (2016) vs. 13.5% (2017)

Opponent Batting Avg.: .233 (2016) vs. .323 (2017)

BABIP: .243 (2016) vs. .335 (2017)

The stat that really jumps off the page here is the last one for Moore, which shows that he had an incredibly low .243 BABIP, good for fourth lowest among quaifying pitchers. This stat also shows that while Moore was successful in 2016, he was also somewhat lucky, and that luck has caught up to him this season, with his .335 BABIP with his fastball ranking in the lower third of league leaders. He will try to command more success at Petco Park on tuesday, his first career start in San Diego.

Wednesday: LHP Ty Blach (8-10, 4.68 ERA) vs. LHP Travis Wood (3-4, 6.03 ERA)

In the series finale, it’s a battle of the lefthanders, the sophomore Blach against the veteran Wood. In his last start, Wood was slammed by the Marlins, giving up five runs and eight hits over five innings, including allowing Miami’s 1-2 punch of Giancarlo Stanton and Marcel Ozuna to go 4-6 with two home runs, and 5 RBI. It goes without saying that it was a let down for Wood, who was coming off one of his best starts of the season against the Nationals his last time out (7.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 earned runs, 2 strikeouts). If the Padres are hoping to flip him a la Trevor Cahill, they’ll need Wood to string a few solid starts together the last month of the season, and continue that momentum to the next trade deadline.

Coming into the season, Ty Blach was merely thought of as a long reliever, and someone who could provide innings in mop up games, with a really slim chance of cracking the seemingly vaunted Giants rotation. Now, here we are about to turn the corner towards the final month of the regular season, and Blach has arguably been San Francisco’s best starter, due to the injury to Madison Bumgarner, and the ineffectiveness of Moore, Samardzija, and Johnny Cueto. Among Giants pitchers, he’s tied for the most wins, third in ERA, and third in innings pitched. No matter how you look at it, Blach has been a reliable starter for the Giants this season, in a year where they really needed someone to step up. Even though the Giants have still had a poor season, Blach has gained notable big league experience in his first full season, and will most certainly be in the rotation come 2018. He’s also set to make his first start of the season at Petco Park, where he owns a 6.00 ERA (one start).

Hitters to Watch

  • Brandon Crawford (SF): Crawford has been better in August, though he’s only hitting .241 for the year. If you take out a four game stretch where he went 0-12, he’s batting .333 for the month, to go with a 12.3 BB% (highest BB rate of the season).
  • Jarrett Parker (SF): If you think about it, he’s kind of like the Giants version of José Pírela: spent a large potion of 2017 in the minors, called up recently and has been a middle of the order staple ever since. He’s carrying a slash line of .294/.326/.494 since he was called up on August 3.
  • Carlos Asuaje (SD): There wasn’t much to write home about regarding offense in their last series, but Asuaje has been arguably the Padres best hitter in the second half, behind perhaps Pírela and Cory Spangenberg. Since turning into the everyday second baseman, Asuaje has been hitting .273, with a .345 OBP (56 game sample).
  • Wil Myers (SD): Myers has been terrible in the second half, hitting .182 in July-August. During that time, he has 30 hits, as opposed to 55 strikeouts (that’s good for a 33% K rate in his past 165 at-bats). It’s more than likely that he continues to struggle, mostly because he’s a combined 3-29 against Giants starters in this series. Hopefully he has a blistering September.