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We good? Phillies vs. Padres series preview

After a successful West Coast swing, are the Phillies ready to be consistent winners?

MLB: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves
Manny Machado is aiming to earn an MVP of his own
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the unfortunate ending, the Phillies’ trip to the West Coast was a success. Was that successful trip a sign that they’ve turned a corner on the season, and we’re going to see consistent winning from here on out? Based on recent history, it would be foolish to make that assumption.

San Diego Padres

Record: 22-13 (Second place in the National League West, 0.5 games back)

The last time they met

The Phillies visited San Diego last August and took two out of three. They were one out from a sweep, but Jake Cronenworth’s ninth inning home run put a stop to that.

What’s the deal with the Padres?

Despite the absence of Fernando Tatis, the Padres have surged to half a game out of first place in the NL West. The Padres got a major assist from the Phillies taking three out of four games against the Dodgers this past weekend, so it would be nice if they showed some gratitude by rolling over the next three days.

The Padres appear to be outperforming their numbers at the moment. They rank 11th in the National League in OPS, but that’s translated to the fifth highest number of runs scored. They’re eighth in team ERA, which is thoroughly mediocre and not what you’d expect from a first-place team in one of the better divisions in baseball.

Their numbers may be slightly inflated thanks to having six games against the dreadful Reds, against whom they are 6-0.

Who’s cold?

Cronenworth probably wishes he’d get another chance to face Aaron Nola, because he has been slumping. He’s batting just .188 over the past two weeks and has just two home runs on the season.

Bryce and Manny

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado were the marquee names as the top of the 2019 free agent class. As you recall, the Phillies pursued both of them, and four seasons in, it doesn’t appear as if there was a wrong answer as to which man they should have signed. (Remember the “stupid money” dreams of signing both of them? That was fun.)

Machado currently leads all position players in WAR, and if the season ended today (it doesn’t) would likely be the NL MVP.

Meanwhile, Harper is coming off a well-deserved NL Player of the Week award. (Believe it or not, that’s the first time he’s won the award as a Phillie!) As of this writing, there’s no word on whether Harper will be back in the lineup today after his PRP injection. I just hope that the injection and time off doesn’t cool off his bat.

What’s that Snell?

Blake Snell will make his season debut on Tuesday night after missing the early part of the season due to a groin injury. Normally, facing a former Cy Young Award winner is a tough task, but the Phillies shouldn’t be too worried.

First, he’ll probably be on a limited pitch count in his first game back. More importantly, despite the hardware on his mantle, Snell hasn’t really been an ace pitcher for most of his career. His 2018 season was unworldly, but aside from that, he’s generally been a good mid-rotation pitcher.

Maybe Snell can compare notes with Aaron Nola.

Consistency? Never heard of it

The 2021 season was another disappointment for the Phillies, but there were times when it looked like the Phillies had finally found their stride. Remember when they won eight straight games at the start of August?

They followed up that winning streak by going 2-7 over the next nine games, including an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the lowly Diamondbacks.

But that was the 2021 Phillies. Despite currently possessing a losing record, the 2022 edition is supposedly better than last year’s team. Last year’s team would have left the resurgent offense out West and struggled to score runs upon their return home. It would be nice if the Phillies could come out strong against the Padres and give us a sign that maybe this year will be different.


Last series’ answer: I apologize for the unclear wording of the last question. (It’s harder than it may seem!) Cesar Hernandez has the most hits for the Phillies in Dodgers Stadium. Philaman would have gotten it, but he made two guesses and is therefore disqualified!

This series’ question: From 2006 to 2010, a Padres player had three multi-home run games against the Phillies. Who was he?

Non-Phillies thought

It’s election day! If you live in Pennsylvania and haven’t yet done so, please go vote! It’s your civic duty, and your best chance to get the type of government that represents you and your values.

Closing thought

With the Sixers’ flameout, and a good showing out West, fans are ready to believe in the Phillies...but that feeling won’t last long. If we hit the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game, and the Phillies are scuffling along with four hits and no runs, I’m sure my Twitter timeline will be filled with “Same crap, different year” tweets.