clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

San Diego Padres Series Preview: It hasn’t gone quite as expected for the Dads

They once again went big, but if they don’t get back on track, they’ll also be going home at the end of the season.

MLB: Washington Nationals at San Diego Padres Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres made some big moves at the deadline. It started when they traded for Josh Hader and moved a pretty decent haul to get him. Then they traded an absolute mega haul to the Nationals to get Josh Bell. Oh yeah, there was also a guy named Juan Soto in that deal. And they also added Brandon Drury in a smaller deal with the Reds, but Drury was having a very good season for them. And because this is a Royals site, they also picked up some important catching depth when they acquired Cam Gallagher, though he’s in AAA for them right now. And it just hasn’t worked yet. They swept a doubleheader on deadline day before the additions arrived and then won a 9-1 laugher with their new guys. They immediately lost five in a row after that and are now 8-12 since their new crew joined the team.

Soto has been great, albeit with less power than you’d expect. Drury has been bad. Bell has been worse. Hader has been worse…er? He’s already been removed from the closer’s role. The Padres collapsed down the stretch last year as well and their manager paid for it. They brought in Bob Melvin as someone who they felt could help avoid that and so far, not so good for them. It doesn’t mean they aren’t talented. Their offense is dynamic with some power. They play decent defense and their starting rotation should be good enough to get them where they want to be. They’re currently in the final playoff spot in the National League, so it’s not like they’re in huge trouble or anything, but they’re going to need to start playing much better or else they might be in huge trouble soon.

Royals vs. Padres Matchup Stats

Category Royals Padres
Category Royals Padres
Winning % .405 .540
Team wRC+ 92 99
Team xFIP 4.49 3.80
Run Differential -149 41
Highest fWAR Brady Singer, 2.2 Manny Machado, 5.6

Padres Projected Lineup

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Jurickson Profar LF 515 .243 .341 .391 12.2% 14.8% 112 2.7
Juan Soto RF 517 .252 .413 .481 20.9% 14.1% 153 3.3
Manny Machado 3B 494 .297 .368 .522 10.1% 19.6% 148 5.6
Brandon Drury DH 463 .263 .322 .495 7.1% 22.0% 121 2.4
Josh Bell 1B 521 .277 .366 .459 11.7% 15.0% 130 2.1
Jake Cronenworth 2B 541 .240 .342 .383 10.9% 19.2% 110 3.4
Ha-Seong Kim SS 437 .255 .332 .376 9.4% 17.6% 105 2.7
Trent Grisham CF 454 .194 .298 .359 11.7% 25.8% 90 1.7
Austin Nola C 311 .248 .325 .322 9.3% 16.1% 88 0.2

Padres Projected Bench

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Jorge Alfaro C 254 .252 .287 .395 3.9% 36.2% 92 0.6
Matthew Batten INF/OF 22 .105 .227 .158 9.1% 27.3% 22 0.0
Jose Azocar OF 145 .237 .283 .326 6.2% 22.1% 73 0.0
Wil Myers OF/1B 189 .243 .291 .312 6.3% 30.2% 72 -0.2

Padres Key Relievers

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Luis Garcia 48 45.2 4 6 25.1% 6.7% 3.55 3.02 1.0
Nick Martinez 31 90.0 3 3 20.8% 9.0% 3.10 4.05 0.5
Adrian Morejon 15 19.0 3 0 21.5% 3.8% 3.32 3.97 0.2

Royals vs. Padres Projected Pitching Matchups

August 26 - RHP Joe Musgrove vs. LHP Kris Bubic, 7:10pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Joe Musgrove 22 139.0 8 6 24.4% 5.0% 2.91 3.35 2.9
Kris Bubic 21 95.1 2 8 18.5% 11.1% 4.29 4.55 0.5

Joe Musgrove is a great story for the Padres. He grew up in San Diego but was a Blue Jays first round pick back in 2011. He was traded to the Astros in 2012, then was part of the deal to bring Gerrit Cole to Houston in 2018 and then finally got to come home before the 2021 season. In his second start for his hometown team, he threw the first no-hitter in Padres history. And really, hasn’t looked back since, becoming one of the better pitchers in the whole game. That culminated with the Padres making sure he doesn’t reach the open market with a five year deal for $100 million earlier this year to keep him in the brown in yellow. He isn’t overpowering but has four pitches that gets out and that he can control. He throws a nasty slider, a high-spin four-seamer, a nasty curve and a cutter that’s probably his worst pitch but is still good. He also mixes in an occasional sinker and an occasional changeup with lefties getting the latter mostly. He’s had a bit of a tough go lately with a 4.95 ERA in his last seven starts, so maybe the Royals are catching him at a good time. They need to be prepared to swing because he’s walked one batter in August and that was back on August 4. He’s now faced 95 consecutive batters without walking one.

Career vs. KC: 1 GS, 6.0 IP, 0-0, 7.50 ERA

Kris Bubic lost his streak of quality starts with a rough sixth inning against the White Sox on August 10 that wasn’t entirely his fault and he’s struggled a little since. This is more the type of struggle we’ve seen from him in the past than what he did early in the year, but he’s been knocked around pretty good with 18 hits allowed in 9.1 innings in his last two starts. And in his last start, he didn’t even record a strikeout against the Rays. That broke a streak of four straight starts with six or more. The good news is he still has just a 7.9 percent walk rate in his last seven starts and a 3.66 ERA. So we’re about to learn if the rough stretch he’s in currently is a blip or if the 13 solid starts after his return from Omaha are the blip. Maybe I’m being too optimistic here, but my money is somewhere in the middle but closer to those first 13 starts back. This Padres offense is one that will make a pitcher with iffy command work, so it’s a big test for Bubic, but one that will be good for him moving forward.

Career vs. SD: First Appearance

August 27 - RHP Yu Darvish vs. LHP Daniel Lynch, 6:10pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Yu Darvish 23 148.2 10 7 24.8% 4.6% 3.39 3.53 3.1
Daniel Lynch 20 98.1 4 8 20.4% 9.4% 4.58 4.57 1.0

I wonder if people are a little disappointed in Darvish’s career. They shouldn’t be, but there was quite a bit of hype around him and for him to have a 3.55 career ERA is probably not what they were thinking. But that’s quite good. He’s only had a couple of truly dominant seasons, but he’s a good pitcher and is having another good season in his second year with the Padres. He’s simplified his repertoire a bit. He still has all those pitches, but he only throws three more than 10 percent of the time now - a cutter that has some crazy spin but has been hit, a four-seamer that still sits around 95 MPH and has been very effective and a slider that moves a lot, has been excellent but doesn’t get the swings and misses you’d expect. He also mixes in a sinker that just misses the 10 percent threshold, a splitter and a curve. He’s greatly enjoyed pitching in his home park, allowing a .172/.231/.290 line at home, but on the road, it jumps to .259/.293/.383, which still isn’t bad, but it’s not nearly as good. The time to get him is early as he gets better as the game goes, on specifically in the second time through the order, so the Royals will want to jump on him early.

Career vs. KC: 6 GS, 41.2 IP, 3-1, 2.16 ERA

I’m wondering if Daniel Lynch is hitting a bit of a wall, which is concerning because this is what happened to him around this time last year. In a seven-start stretch that included a couple of injuries, he had a 28.3 percent strikeout rate and a nearly four to one strikeout to walk ratio. Since then, he had a gutty start against the Dodgers where he still walked more than he struck out and then had a tough beginning to a start against the Twins and then didn’t strike anyone out in his last start against the White Sox. He has a 3.45 ERA in his last three starts, but has walked nine and struck out five in 15.2 innings. His fastball has actually been very good in those starts, but his slider just isn’t getting the whiffs it was earlier in the year. I wonder if there’s something mechanical that’s been altered slightly so maybe it’s just a quick fix, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s just fatigue. Which does make some sense. He didn’t throw a competitive pitch in 2020 and then threw 125 innings last year and is up to 105.1 innings this season. Still, you’d like to see him be able to stay solid into September before you feel comfortable anointing him as part of a good team’s rotation.

Career vs. SD: First Appearance

August 28 - LHP Sean Manaea vs. RHP Jonathan Heasley, 1:10pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Sean Manaea 23 130.0 7 6 24.0% 8.2% 4.64 3.91 1.2
Jonathan Heasley 14 65.2 1 7 16.1% 11.0% 5.21 5.40 -0.4

Sean Manaea has developed into probably exactly what the Royals were hoping for when they picked him 34th overall in 2013. He’s been a good, not great, pitcher throughout his big league career. I think the Royals would make that trade 10 times out of 10 to get Ben Zobrist on the 2015 club, but I also think they really would have liked to have had Manaea in 2016 and 2017. He isn’t overpowering, but he gets strikeouts and generally limits walks, though those are up this year. Manaea throws a sinker in the low-90s, a changeup that’s been hit hard this year and a slider that’s reserved for lefties mostly. The slider has been bonkers good, so I wonder a bit why he isn’t throwing it more to right-handed batters with his changeup not really working this season. Because of that, righties have a near .800 OPS against him and he’s struggled a fair amount away from Petco Park. While he was great in his last start, he still has a 6.11 ERA since the break with nine homers and 44 hits allowed in 35.1 innings. And while the ERA is bad, he’s allowed six unearned runs, so the actual scoring he’s allowed is even worse.

Career vs. KC: 3 GS, 17.1 IP, 2-0, 3.63 ERA

I can’t say I’ve ever seen a start like the last one we got from Jonathan Heasley. He didn’t allow a run, which was great, but he also barfed three times, which doesn’t seem ideal. It’s something he’s dealt with his entire career, but as much as coaches want players to leave it all on the field, I don’t think that’s what they had in mind. I mentioned this during his start and before the heaving, but sometimes Heasley looks like he could put it all together and run through a lineup three times no problem. Then other times, it looks like maybe he’s actually left-handed and has been throwing wrong his whole career. He’s made 14 starts this season and has walked more batters than he struck out in five of them, including his start against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. His changeup and his slider were really good in that start, so I hope he starts to move more toward using those pitches in place of the fastball, which I think can be a weapon, but just isn’t yet.

Career vs. SD: First Appearance

Royals vs. Padres Prediction

I like that the Royals are catching the Padres right now and might not have to deal with Soto, who has missed the last couple of games with a back injury. That would help. But the Padres are still the superior team by a fair amount. And I’m not loving the way Bubic or Lynch is throwing right now against an offense that hasn’t been especially good but could break out at any time. I’m going to say the Royals snag just one win, but this is one of those series that I could actually see any combination happening, just because of how volatile both these teams seem to be.


The Padres are good but playing poorly. The Royals are...a team. How does this series end?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    With a Royals sweep.
    (10 votes)
  • 21%
    With a Padres sweep.
    (26 votes)
  • 17%
    The Royals will win two of three.
    (21 votes)
  • 52%
    The Padres will win two of three.
    (62 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now