San Diego Padres vs Miami Marlins Series Preview: The Friars Club

San Diego PadresThe rocky road for the San Diego Padres is not about to get less rocky, in fact things only look to get tougher for the Padres as the red hot Miami Marlins(19-15) roll into Petco Park for a four game set. The last week of play has seen the Friars go 2-4 against the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Kansas City Royals, while the Marlins have reeled off six wins in their last seven games.

Who are the Miami Marlins, and what is making them so successful? They are the youngest team in MLB and currently rank as one of the best hitting teams in baseball. Their .267 team batting average is good enough for third in the majors, which translates to runs when they are to able put runners on base at the consistency they have been able to. Their overall on-base percentage of .337 on the season has only gotten better in the last week, rising to .367 over the last seven days. Padres pitching is going to have to find a way to slow them down, otherwise it could translate to another long weekend for the Friars.

The Marlins number three hitter, Giancarlo Stanton and cleanup hitter, Casey McGehee are two of the most dangerous players in MLB, and if the Padres look to be successful this weekend, they cannot let these two players beat them. Stanton has been a monster in the first part of the season, and is proving to be one of the best power hitters in baseball. His 10 home runs are second in MLB and 38 RBI are first in MLB. He leads the NL in both categories, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Unfortunately, for the Padres, they do not have the option of pitching around Stanton since McGehee looms in the on-deck circle waiting to cleanup whatever Stanton does not. His .318 batting average puts him just behind Philadelphia’s Chase Utley at number 12 in the NL, while his 23 RBI are good enough to put him ninth in the NL.

San Diego Padres hitters will not receive any help from the Marlins pitching, as they are scheduled to face one of the most consistent pitching staffs in baseball. The Marlins rank in the top 10 in both ERA (3.30) and BAA (batting average against) at .235. The Padres will get a look at one of the best pitcher’s in the Majors when they face Jose Fernandez in the second game of the series. The second year pitcher from Cuba who is posting a 1.37 ERA and is coming off a solid outing on Sunday against the Dodgers, where he went for seven solid innings, striking out 10 and giving up two earned runs.

It is going to be a tough test for the Friars this week as they face one of the hottest teams in baseball. They are facing a team that can beat them at the bat and on the mound, so if there is a time for the Padres to break out of their funk, they must do it now. Another series of quiet bats could spell major trouble for the Friars, so they will need somebody to take control of the team and fire them up.

The first game of the series is scheduled for tonight at 7:10pm at Petco Park. Starting pitchers will be Ian Kennedy (2-4) for the Padres vs Jacob Turner (0-0) of the Marlins.

Commentary by Johnny Caito

Sports Illustrated


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