SB Nation Blog
The Opponent in one sentence
The Padres are one of the top up-and-coming teams in the game with a bevy of young talent and even more on the way in the minors, but they aren’t quite in their contention window yet.
Red Sox 0, Padres 0
Even. The Padres headed into the All-Star break with a .500 record and an outside shot at making a push for a wildcard in the somewhat mediocre NL race. That hope has gone away as they came out of the break ice cold. Since then, they’ve leveled off and have been playing something around .500 ball for a few weeks now.
8/23: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Chris Paddack, 10:10 PM ET
Despite being shorthanded in the rotation right now — twelve minute games on the regular would be particularly beneficial to the Red Sox — they do get to start this west coast trip with one of their true starters. That would be Rodriguez, who has also been the best starter on the team for at least the second half. Granted, that’s not a high bar, but it’s still a statement of fact! The bad news here is that the southpaw has been regressing just a bit over the last month or so, not necessarily always in terms of numbers but generally in terms of approach. Rodriguez has been failing to attack hitters of late, but he did do better last time out. That start was against the Orioles, but he tossed 7 1⁄3 shutout innings in that one. The Padres do have some talent in their lineup who will punish them even without the most exciting player in baseball — more on that further down — so it will be interesting to see how confidently Rodriguez will control the zone in this one.
If you are familiar with Paddack, there’s a decent chance you became familiar early this season when the young righty took the league by storm. The Padres bucked some league trends this year in calling up top prospects right at the start of the year, and Paddack was electrifying in that rotation. Through his first nine starts he had a 1.93 ERA with over a strikeout per inning and a 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio. He’s leveled off a bit since then, but he’s still had plenty of outings to remind us the electricity has not gone away. That said, in three August starts the righty has a 7.98 ERA over 14 2⁄3 innings, with most of the damage coming from the long ball. He does, however, have 17 strikeouts to three walks in that time. Paddack will heavily feature his mid-90s fastball while also working in a changeup and a curveball.
8/24: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Dinelson Lamet, 8:40 PM ET
Eovaldi made his way back into the rotation the last time through and, well, things did not go super great! The Red Sox did end up coming back and winning that game, but it was not due to the righty. He only made it through two innings, allowing five runs with three walks and only one strikeout. He’s simply going to have better command if he’s going to have success as a starter, and that has been easier said than done since he’s come back from his injury. The team will once again likely be looking for four or five innings from Eovaldi, but they will also be ready to pull the trigger with a long reliever if they need to.
Lamet is one of my favorite pitchers to watch in all of baseball, which is not the same as saying he is a sure bet to dominate this game. After missing all of last season with injury, he has come back and made eight starts in 2019, in which he has been extremely up and down. The righty, at his best, has some outrageous stuff that has helped him set down over twelve batters per nine innings. His issue has always been his command, however, and he is walking almost four per nine while also giving up a few more homers than you’d like considering his home park. When he’s on he can be unhittable, like when he tossed seven shutout innings against the Mariners with twelve strikeouts. When he’s not, well, there’s still plenty of strikeouts but also a whole lot of baserunners. Lamet features a mid-to-high-90s fastball along with a curveball, a sinker and a slider.
8/25: TBD vs. Joey Lucchesi, 4:10 PM ET
The Red Sox have still not announced a starter for this series finale on Sunday, but they could be getting some very good news. The hope is that David Price will be ready to return for this one, making his first start since August 4 in New York. It’s far from a guarantee that he’ll be back, but it’s certainly something to watch for.
Lucchesi is a third young arm from this Padres rotation who the Red Sox will see this weekend, though he’s not quite as electric as the first two. The southpaw is in his second season in the majors, and he’s having a solid year. Over 133 innings in 24 starts, he’s pitched to a 4.20 ERA, a 3.93 FIP and a 3.99 DRA. He strikes out just shy of a batter per inning, and does a good job of keeping the ball on the ground. That hasn’t prevented him from allowing his share of homers, but that’s just baseball in 2019. Lucchesi will throw his low-90s sinker about half the time while also throwing a changeup and a cutter.
Manuel Margot was the headliner that was sent to San Diego back when the Red Sox traded for Craig Kimbrel. He was blocked in the outfield at that time by the same men roaming the outfield for Boston today, but he’s emerged as a solid player for the Padres. He’s a bit below-average with the bat, but he makes up for it in the field and with his legs.
Ian Kinsler is not exactly the most beloved player from the 2018 championship run, but he helped stabilize a very unstable second base position last year. If nothing else, he provided good defense where they desperately needed it (World Series notwithstanding). He’s currently injured.
Don Orsillo, you may have heard, is no longer with NESN. It’s been a few years now, but it still stings. Some people get annoyed by Red Sox fans still bringing up Orsillo, but they’ll have to deal with it. He’s the best in the business, and I often fall asleep to Padres games in large part to listen to him.
Notable Position Players
Manny Machado is, of course, every Red Sox fan’s favorite player. The former rival is now out west after signing a massive contract this past winter. He’s been solid this year, though not exactly a star. The power is still there and he’s had average plate discipline, but he’s not getting as many hits to fall in.
Eric Hosmer is another big free agent signed by the Padres. He’s not worth his contract, but in a way that has made him underrated. He’s certainly not great, but he can still hit a bit while providing a sure glove at first base.
Josh Naylor is a former top prospect. He’s had some big moments of late, but overall he’s been a little below-average in his first year in the majors.
Francisco Mejía is a very good hitter for a catcher, which is to say he’s league-average. He’s a very aggressive hitter, but he’s always capable of doing damage when he makes contact.
Hunter Renfroe strikes out a bunch, but he is also the biggest power threat in this Padres lineup.
Luis Urías is a top prospect who’s been up and down this year. His offensive stats are rough this year, but the talent is better than his 72 wRC+ would suggest.
Ty France was one of the best hitters in Triple-A for much of the year, but that hasn’t carried over to the majors just yet.
Kirby Yates is probably well-known to most Red Sox fans as he was seen as a potential trade candidate. He ended up staying in San Diego and continues to be one of the best relievers in all of baseball.
Andrés Muñoz hasn’t been up long, but he’s taken a key role as a guy who can get big strikeouts when necessary.
Matt Strahm has spent much of the year as a starter, but the lefty has looked much better out of the bullpen where his stuff plays up in short stints.
Kinsler, as mentioned above, is injured. He’s out indefinitely with a herniated disk in his neck.
Fernando Tatís Jr. is the aforementioned most exciting player in baseball. Unfortunately, he just suffered a back injury that will keep him out for the rest of the year.
Franchy Cordero has been out for a couple months now. He originally went down with an elbow injury before hurting his quad in a rehab assignment. He likely won’t be back until September.
Carl Edwards Jr. suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the month. His timetable is unclear.
Garrett Richards has had brutal injury luck throughout his career, and most recently suffered an elbow injury during a rehab start earlier this month.
Adrian Morejon is a top prospect, but he struggled in his first taste of the majors and is now down with a shoulder injury.
Robert Stock has been out since early July with an elbow injury.
Adam Warren has been out with a forearm injury since July and may not return this year.
Miguel Díaz has missed most of the year with a knee injury.
Jacob Nix a former top prospect who is working his way back from injury and could pitch in the majors again in the final month of the year.
Brett Kennedy has been out since early May with what the team called dead arm. That’s a long time for dead arm!
Aaron Loup has been out for most of the year with an elbow injury.
José Castillo tore a ligament in his hand, which will keep him out for the rest of the year.
It’s San Diego. The weather is going to be perfect.