The Phillies will continue their West Coast jaunt with a trip to San Diego. After dealing with the inferno-like temperatures of the greater Phoenix area, the pleasant climate of San Diego will likely be a welcome change. More importantly, the Padres don’t have nearly as much talent as the Diamondbacks, so the Phillies’ chances in the series appear brighter.
The Last Time They Met
The Padres were the Phillies’ first post-All-Star break opponent, and the Phils took two out of three. Despite a big series by former Phillie Freddy Galvis, the Phillies won the series thanks to the hot bats of Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera.
The Padres have struggled through most of the second half. After leaving Philadelphia, they suffered a six-game losing streak, en route to going 5-10. They are utterly buried in the National League West, 12 games behind their closest competitor.
Padres Pitching vs. Phillies Hitting
The Phillies’ offense has become increasingly dependent on the home run. It feels like if they can’t go deep, they have trouble scoring runs. The bad news is that San Diego’s Petco Park is notorious tough for home runs. The good news is that the Padres’ pitching staff is woefully inexperienced. All three of the scheduled starters in the series are rookies.
Friday’s starter is the least experienced of them all, since this will be Jacob Nix’s major league debut. He was regarded as a decent prospect, and I can’t tell if he’s of any relation to the Nix brothers who used to play for the Phillies. Remember those guys? They weren’t very good, but they did fill the “superfluous Y in the first name” void that was created when Jayson Werth left for Washington.
Compared to Nix, Saturday’s starter is a grizzled veteran. Walker Lockett will be making his third career start, and neither of his first two starts were successful: He gave up a total of nine runs in 8.2 innings. Sandwiched between those starts was a relief appearance that also went poorly. Also, Walker Lockett totally sounds like a made up name. His real name is probably something boring like John Smith.
Joey Lucchesi completes the triumvirate of inexperience with 17 career starts to his name. Lucchesi has been decent, evidenced by his 3.70 ERA, but he’s never made it past the sixth inning in any of his starts. Considering the Phillies’ ability to take pitches, it is doubtful that he will break that streak this time around.
It seems likely that the Phillies will see a lot of the Padres’ bullpen. That doesn’t seem as imposing as it did before the Padres traded closer Brad Hand. Since Hand’s departure, Kirby Yates has handled closing duties on the rare occasions when the Padres have a lead.
Phillies Pitching vs. Padres Hitting
The Padres do not have a fearsome lineup. They rank 13th in the National League in runs scored, and after looking at their roster, I’m surprised that they are ranked even that high.
Wil Myers is a dangerous hitter, but he’s currently on the disabled list and will miss the series. Eric Hosmer is a former All-Star, but he seems to have lost his power stroke since coming to the National League. The best hitter in recent weeks has been Austin Hedges, but his on base percentage is still a low .306. The team’s main source of power is third baseman Christian Villanueva, but his 20 home runs are offset a bit by his sub par .294 on base percentage.
In other words, this is a great opportunity for the Phillies’ pitching staff to continue the impressive run they’ve been on lately. First up is Zach Eflin, who is coming off one of his best starts of the season. He lasted eight innings and came as close as any Phillies starter has to pitching a complete game.
It almost seems unfair for Aaron Nola to face this lineup. When he faced them last month, he only let up two runs in eight innings. And that was at the far more hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. He should be able to dominate at pitcher-friendly Petco.
The finale will be pitched by Jake Arrieta. Arrieta has been excellent since the start of July, although his one bad start in that stretch surprisingly came against the Padres. I can’t imagine that will happen again.
It would be nice if the Phillies could get out to big leads, because it feels like phenom reliever Seranthony Dominguez could use a little break. On the bright side, Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek have helped pick up the slack in the late innings.
Should Of Kept Freddy?
With Scott Kingery struggling as the team’s shortstop, there have been some grumblings that the team should have held on to Freddy Galvis who now serves as the Padres’ shortstop. I’ll admit that Galvis is superior to Kingery defensively, but if you aren’t happy with Kingery’s production with the bat, I don’t know why you’d think Galvis would be a superior alternative.
Galvis’ offensive numbers were barely adequate when he hit 20 home runs in a season. But it’s becoming apparent that the power surge was an outlier. In 2018, he has just six home runs to go along with a dreadful .291 on base percentage.
And I know someone is thinking "THEY SHOULD HAVE KEPT FREDDY GALVIS!". Scott Kingery is 156th out of 158 qualified batters by wRC+, Galvis is 150th out of 158— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) August 8, 2018
If a team had an excellent lineup and was willing to sacrifice some offense for defense at shortstop, I could see them wanting Galvis on their team. But for a team like the Phillies, it doesn’t make any sense.
My Suggestion for the Padres
If I was in charge, I’d have the Padres go back to the blue, orange, and white color scheme that they used for most of the 1990’s. I’m not sure why, but I really liked those uniforms.
The Padres have retired five players’ numbers aside from the universally honored 42. Name at least two of those players.
The pitching matchups seem so in favor of the Phillies that I want to call for a sweep. I’m concerned that one of the rookies might take the Phillies by surprise, but that seems unlikely. So yeah, let’s go with a Phillies sweep.