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Hope you’re enjoying the weather, Manny: Phillies vs. Padres preview

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The other big name free agent of 2019 hasn’t lifted his team

MLB: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres
Manny Machado made an out, but that’s okay
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Many fans wanted to see Manny Machado in a Phillies uniform. That didn’t happen, but they will get to see him visit town in a Padres uniform this weekend. However, barring a huge finish to the season, they won’t be seeing him in the playoffs.

San Diego Padres

Record: 56-64, 4th place in National League West

The last time they met

The Phillies visited Petco Park in early June and took two out of three. The Padres won their lone game by taking advantage of a bad start by Aaron Nola. Since those aren’t all that common, it doesn’t bode well for their chances this weekend.

Slumping since the break

The Padres had a respectable showing in the first half of the season, with a middling 45-45 record. Since the All-Star break, they’ve gone downhill fast, with an 11-19 record.

All they do is hit home runs

The Padres have some good power hitters in their lineup. They have four players with 20+ home runs, and their total of 183 ranks fifth in the National League. You might think that means the Padres have one of the highest scoring offenses in the league. You’d be wrong.

The Padres are just 11th in runs scored, and that’s largely because they rank 11th in batting average, 13th in on-base percentage, and - this is surprising because of their home run total - 10th in slugging percentage. In other words, if they don’t hit the ball out of the park, it’s generally going to be an out.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres
It’s been all or nothing for many Padres hitters, including Manuel Margot
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Normally, I’d say this was a positive thing. Unfortunately, the Phillies’ pitching staff hasn’t been especially good when it comes to keeping the ball in the park. It seems certain that the Padres will hit at least a couple homers this weekend. The best we can hope for is that there aren’t any runners on base when it happens.

You suck, Tatis

For reasons I can’t quite remember, Fernando Tatis, Sr. was one of my least favorite players in baseball. I don’t recall him doing anything specific to draw my ire, but I absolutely couldn’t stand the guy. I was in attendance for a game against the Expos in 2002, and was fortunate enough to have front row seats. A foul ball was hit towards the stands, and Tatis ventured over in pursuit. When he was unable to do so, I verbally lit into him to such an extent that he actually looked over in bewilderment at the amount of taunting he was receiving from a young fan.

Fernando Senior is long gone from the game of baseball, but his son is now playing, and has made a strong first impression. If not for the existence of Pete Alonso, Tatis would probably be the front runner for the Rookie of the Year award. Naturally, this has caused some debate. You might have trouble believing this, but the New York fans are convinced that their guy is most deserving of the award.

The argument may be moot since Tatis appears to be headed to the Injured List with back spasms. This disappoints me greatly since I’m going to the game on Saturday, and was looking forward to a chance to taunt him the way I once taunted his father.

Be afraid, Padres pitchers

Even though the Padres’ rotation doesn’t appear that intimidating, before last week, I’d say that it was as likely as not that the Padres’ starting pitchers would shut down the Phillies’ lineup in at least one game. But now that the return of Charlie Manuel has turned the Phillies into an offensive powerhouse, it feels like they have little chance of success.

Chris Paddack’s ERA of 3.26 seems impressive, but keep in mind that his ERA was 2.40 before his last start against the Phillies. That didn’t stop them from touching him up for five runs in 4.1 innings. He probably won’t be happy to see Scott Kingery again, since he went 2-2 with a home run against him last time.

Dinelson Lamet missed over a season after having Tommy John surgery. He’s pitched somewhat effectively since his return, but his stamina hasn’t returned. He’s only gone longer than five innings once in seven starts.

Much like his rookie season of 2018, Joey Lucchesi has been very okay in 2019. However, he’s been considerably more okay at home than on the road. That’s bad news for him since this game will indeed take place away from San Diego.

Vinny’s your Padre

One pitcher who is likely looking forward to this series is Vince Velasquez. Velasquez has made two starts and one relief appearance against the Padres, and has yet to give up a run. You may recall his amazing 16 strikeout performance against them.

Unfortunately, Velasquez has never repeated that level of dominance, but maybe another start against the Padres is just what he needs.

How’s the weather, Manny?

When Manny Machado signed with the Padres, most people said it was a smart move. He’d get to play in the ever-pleasant Southern California climate, and the fans wouldn’t care all that much when he wasn’t “Johnny Hustle.” He probably wouldn’t be winning any World Series - that’s not really San Diego’s thing - but who cares when you can get paid a lot of money to play in nice weather?

I don’t know if the San Diego weather has lived up to expectations, but if anyone expected Machado to lift the Padres’ fortunes, they’ve surely been disappointed. He’s been okay - his slash line of .263/.334/.475 is very meh - but he’s played his usual strong defense at third base.

Would the Phillies be better off had they signed him instead of Bryce Harper? It’s becoming difficult to make that argument. For one, we’d be only one season away from worrying that Alec Bohm’s path to the majors was blocked. And perhaps more importantly, we wouldn’t have gotten to witness this:

Flashback of ineptitude: Jason Bartlett

As a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, Jason Bartlett had some positive moments. He was the starting shortstop for their 2008 pennant winning team. Phillies fans might remember him from this play:

Bartlett qualified for the All-Star team in 2009, but as he got older, he also became more expensive. As a result, the Rays did as they so often do with players who begin to get more expensive: Trade him.

The Padres sent four players to the Rays in exchange for Bartlett, and then watched his career wither. He was never a prolific power hitter, but his slugging percentage in 2011 was a frightening .307. Making matters worse, his defensive skills suffered, and he was no longer an above average defender at shortstop.

The following year, he missed a large chunk of time with a knee injury, and the Padres released him into the ether when the season was complete.

Prediction

I correctly predicted the sweep of the Cubs, so why not let it ride? The Phillies will win all three to complete a perfect homestand.