Through the first thirty plus games of the season, the Padres (18-21) bats seemed to be trapped in a deep, dark slumber but a breakthrough series against the Miami Marlins has ignited the Friars bats. The Padres will take their first three game winning streak of the year to Cincinnati where they will face off with the up and down Reds (17-19).
After the extra innings loss off a home run by slugger Giancarlo Stanton in the eleventh inning of Game 1 of the series, the Padres rebounded against one of the hottest teams in baseball and battled back with three impressive victories in a row. The second game of the series matched the Padres up against Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins pitcher who had looked dominate through the first part of the season, but the Friars were able to post a couple of runs early and then get the monster inning in the sixth where they put up a six spot, thanks in part to a grand slam off the bat of Jedd Gyorko.
It was a good stretch for the Padres, but the celebrating is over and it is time for the Friars to ride their momentum as they head to Cincinnati. The return of Chase Headley is already proving valuable and in the next game or two, the bat of Carlos Quentin should make its way into the lineup. Just 6.5 games out of first place in the NL West, the Padres need to steal a game or two in Cincy, because the road trip only gets rockier as they head to Coors Field to face off against the slugging Colorado Rockies.
First things first for the San Diego Padres and their newly awakened bats. Who is Cincinnatti, and what can they expect over the three game stretch? The Reds stole two games from the high-powered Rockies earlier this week and are coming off of a 4-1 victory on Sunday. One thing the Padres can expect to face is solid pitching, as they are scheduled to go up against Mike Leake (3.40 ERA, 2-3), Johnny Cueto (1.43 ERA, 3-2) and Alfredo Simon (2.89 ERA, 4-2).
The second game of the series looks to be the most anticipated, as Ian Kennedy (3.12 ERA, 2-4) is coming off a dominating performance in the May 8 loss to the Marlins where he went seven innings strong, fanned 12 batters and gave up just one run. His fastball showed a lot of juice and through seven powerful innings he overpowered a very good and extremely hot Marlins squad. It will be a dual between Kennedy and one of the best pitchers in baseball, as the Padres face off against the hard-throwing, rock and fire pitcher, Johnny Cueto. With a dominating fastball, Cueto will undoubtabaly be one of the best pitchers that the Friars have faced so far this year. The early season favorite to win the NL Cy Young, Cueto is posting a remarkably low ERA 1.43, while striking out 68 batters and allowing just 30 hits in 63 innings pitched.
It will be a tough test for the San Diego Padres this coming week, but leaving the friendly confines of Petco Park, the team has to feel good about beating the Miami Marlins, who swept into San Diego as one of the hottest teams in baseball. The Friars are getting healthier, the bats are firing up, and their pitching is still solid. If they can steal a game or two from both the Reds and the Rockies, they should find themselves in good position as their schedule looking ahead shows a two game set against the Twins, and then a back-to-back series against the struggling Cubs and Diamondbacks.
Temperatures are scheduled to reach the low to mid-90’s in San Diego this, so while “America’s Finest City” suffers through a heat-wave, Padres fans look to keep cool as they watch the Friars bats continue to stay hot.
Commentary by JohnnyCaito