Back in the great free agent pursuit of 2019, the two biggest names on the market were Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Despite the Phillies being linked to both men, and some crazy rumors that they’d sign both of them, Harper ended up with the Phillies, while Machado headed to San Diego.
Many people mocked Machado’s decision, saying that he opted for nice weather and a relatively low pressure environment instead of going someplace that he’d have a chance to be a perennial winner.
As it turned out, Machado may have made the wise choice. Fueled in large part by a fertile farm system and strong player development, the Padres appear headed for their second straight playoff berth, while the Phillies seem to be destined for a tenth straight season of missing the playoffs.
San Diego Padres
Record: 49-34 (Third place in National League West)
The last time they met
The Padres came to Philadelphia in August 2019 and won two out of three. The winning pitcher in the Phillies one win was Vince Velasquez who has been oddly successful against the Padres in his career. That one famous start of his? You know the one I’m talking about. It came against the Padres.
Velasquez is scheduled to start on Sunday, and maybe based on that past success, he won’t ruin another holiday for Phillies fans
What’s new with the Padres
They’re on a 98-win pace, but are only in third place in the West. That does put them on pace for the second Wild Card spot though. They’re fourth in runs scored in the National League and third in team ERA. That seems like ideal balance.
Least valuable player
The Padres have a slew of good players, but Jurickson Profar is not one of them. Profar is one of those guys who can play a lot of positions, but isn’t great at any of them. He also doesn’t hit very well, checking in with a .596 OPS this season.
He also apparently subscribes to the Rhys Hoskins school of seeking out positive vibes only.
Jurickson Profar invites everyone to come out tomorrow and cheer the team on. "We need the fans' energy ... we're going to turn this thing around. I promise you. We're too talented. I promise you." #Padres— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) June 16, 2021
Speaking of Manny
It must be nice to sign a big free agent contract, underperform somewhat (in 2021 at least), and have it not matter because you’ve got one of the best players in baseball on your team. Machado is having a somewhat disappointing offensive year with a .789 OPS, although his defense has still been rated highly.
I wouldn’t blame Harper if he cast some envious looks over at the other dugout. Machado’s 12 home runs and .258 batting average have led to 50 RBIs, while Harper’s 13 and .275 are good for just 23 runs batted in.
Harpers gonna have 35 homers and 45 RBI's this year— Francisco (@Rojas_Media_) June 30, 2021
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Phillies could find a Fernando Tatis, Jr. of their own? Instead, the Phillies’ top prospects seem to turn into Scott Kingery, or end up as stars on other teams.
Phillies fans are not an optimistic group these days
Not saying Phillies fans aren’t in a good place right now, but I haven’t seen one person say they’re upset by tonight’s postponement— Smarty Jones Esq. (@TheSmartyJones) July 1, 2021
Maybe the day off will be good for everybody.
Punchable face analysis
Take a look at Wil Myers. If you saw this picture out of context, and he wasn’t wearing a Padres hat, what profession would you assume he had?
I think most of us would guess “Guy selling drugs of questionable quality outside the 7-11” long before we came up with professional baseball player. I’m not sure if that necessarily makes his face punchable, but it might serve as a warning to those people who are peddling poison to the miscreant youth of America.
What can brown do for you?
When the writers at TGP ranked MLB teams’ uniforms, the biggest disparity in opinion came when ranking the Padres’ road unis. Some people thought they were beautiful, while others (correctly) said that brown is not a good look.
If you’re playing well, as the Padres currently are, maybe you can get away with it. But if things are going poorly, do you really want to invite easy comparisons to poop?
If the Padres really wanted to look good, they’d bring back these orange and blue unis from the nineties. Those were FIRE.
Last series’ answer: Cesar Hernandez’s 50 base hits are the most by any player at Marlins’ Park. Hernandez was never the most beloved Phillie, but I think many of us would welcome his unspectacular steadiness these days. DarkSide830 had the correct answer.
This series’ question: Vince Velasquez’s famous start came on April 14, 2016, in a game the Phillies won 3-0. One of the Phillies’ runs came via solo home run by what player?
What to expect
- Harper will hit a home run. As usual, nobody will be on base when he hits it.
- Tatis will hit a home run. There will be people on base, and it will hurt the Phillies.
- After holding his own (and that’s an understatement) against Jacob deGrom, Zach Eflin will now get to go against Yu Darvish. And he’ll once again keep the Phillies in the game.
Closing thought that may or may be relevant to the series
Not saying that being a Phillies fan is hazardous to mental health, but there’s a problem when I start thinking things like, “Maybe Brandon Kintzler’s problems were injury related, and he’ll actually be better this time around!”