An Orioles-Padres matchup is rarer than a total lunar eclipse. The last time these two met was in June 2016, a two-game series the Orioles swept. The winning pitchers: Yovani Gallardo and Ubaldo Jimenez. (Serious question: would you want them on the staff today?)
Obviously the talking point of this series is Manny Machado’s return to the Yard as a member of an opposing team. There’s been talk that some fans are planning to boo him, maybe for the Orioles “didn’t show me a little bit of love” comment, or that infamous “I’m not Johnny Hustle” thing? I don’t know. I hope it doesn’t happen. Personally, I’m grateful for five-and-a-half seasons of superhuman play at third and short, and the joy Manny always brought to the field, whether cheering from the dugout or his absurdly elaborate handshakes with Jonathan Schoop. (And c’mon—he could have become a Yankee.)
The 38-40 Padres are coming off a three-game sweep by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fourth in their division due partly to the misfortune of playing alongside the 54-24 LA Dodgers and their .684 winning percentage, the Padres were predicted to have an outside shot at a wild card this season, but unless they acquire some pitching, looks like those hopes will have to wait.
The Padres are still considered buyers, and they’re looking for a lefty bat, a starter, and bullpen depth. The San Diego bullpen is 9th in the NL with 4.87 runs per game (“Hold my beer,” say the Orioles and their 6.33 RA/G), and other than their closer, former Yankee Kirby Yates (who has a 1.36 ERA and 26 saves in 33 innings), there have been few Padres standouts in relief.
San Diego’s strongest players have been shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who’s returning from an injury, Manny, back to .278/.354/.847 after a cold start, the annoyingly reliable Eric Hosmer at 1B (.283/.340/.782), and leftfielder Hunter Renfroe, who’s hit the most home runs in the majors since April 26th.
Game 1 – Tuesday, 7:05 pm
· Jimmy Yacabonis (1-1, 4.70 ERA, 16 K)
· Logan Allen (1-0, 0.00 5 K)
Logan Allen has pitched exactly one game in the major leagues, and he’s already a quasi-celebrity in San Diego, having won a bet with John Cena that he’d never reach the major leagues. (How Cali is this.) Well, it was a great start, as he went seven scoreless against Milwaukee, with just three hits allowed.
The Orioles are countering with … a wing and a prayer? No, it’s Jimmy Yacabonis. It feels downright unfair how an already thin starting rotation has been devastated by injury and incompetence (Means on the 10-day IL, Alex Cobb out for the season, David Hess playing himself out of a spot, Gabriel Ynoa, Dan Straily… I’ll just stop there). Anyway, the Orioles are turning to Jimmie Yak for the second time this week. Last start, he threw two scoreless innings against Oakland, but then Josh Rogers coughed up the lead. So, let’s see how this goes.
Game 2 – Wednesday, 3:05 pm
· Dylan Bundy (3-9, 4.59 ERA, 86 K)
· Matt Strahm (2-6, 4.85 ERA, 62 K)
Matt Strahm is having a bad year. His .264 batting average allowed is the highest of his career, and he’s been susceptible to the homer lately, including six in his last three starts (in which he gave up 17 runs). From the Orioles current lineup, Strahm has seen only Broxton, Davis, and Núñez once apiece, and hasn’t allowed a hit to any of them.
Dylan Bundy has been Mr. Consistency this season: you can expect him to get a lot of swings- and-misses, give up two-to-three runs, and go about five innings before he loses steam. Bundy has pitched to a 3.46 ERA over his past nine starts, but it’d be great to see him take some pressure off the bullpen and figure out his sixth inning struggles. Out of the Padres lineup, Bundy has only seen Hosmer during his service time with Kansas City and Ian Kinsler from when he played for Detroit. Hosmer is 2-for-6 with a walk against Bundy; Kinsler is 1-for-7.
Poll: How many games will the Orioles will against the Padres this series?
This poll is closed
0 (they get swept)
1 (they split)
2 (the O’s do the sweeping)