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Series #28: Athletics vs Padres - A’s Hope for Mid-Game Fireworks

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Padres’ Current Record:

37-49, last place in the National League West. The Padres have continued to struggle since the A’s swept them in San Diego a couple of weeks prior.

Possible Lineup:

Manuel Margot - CF

Wil Myers - LF

Eric Hosmer - 1B

Hunter Renfroe - RF

Corey Spangenberg - 3B

Carlos Asuaje - DH

Jose Pirela - 2B

Freddy Galvis - SS

A.J. Ellis - C

Probable Starting Pitchers:

Clayton Richard - LHP

TBD

Recent Bullpen Usage:

The Padres have been leaning on their bullpen heavily over the last month, and the relief corps has been losing effectiveness the more and more they’re used. For this series specifically, it should still be all hands on deck with an off day yesterday.

Hottest Hitter(s):

Wil Myers has hit well over this last week after returning from injury in June, leading the team in hits and runs batted in. Also doing damage for San Diego is fellow outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who has been a boon in the lineup while he has been healthy.

Coldest Hitter(s):

The Padres have the worst performing offense in the National League. For the last month, Eric Hosmer has led the Padres in at bats but has an OBP below .300 and isn’t hitting for much power. Given the size of his contract, the Padres will need Hosmer to turn things around for San Diego’s rebuild to work out. The Padres are also struggling to find middle infielders who are capable of OPS’ing above .700.

Hottest Pitcher(s):

The Padres’ team ERA is one-one hundredth less than the A’s going into tonight’s ballgame, 4.12 vs 4.13. Clayton Richard has been a steady force in the Padres rotation, going deep into every game he pitches and always keeping the Padres within striking distance. Several studs have emerged from the bullpen as it has worked overtime, including Kirby Yates, who hasn’t allowed a run in more than a month and an 0.79 ERA on the season.

Coldest Pitcher(s):

While most of the bullpen has been hot, major trade piece Brad Hand has not been one of them. The closer has two blown saves in the last month and has allowed eight runs in his last twelve innings pitched. Another major trade piece, Tyson Ross, has also scuffled in the last month or so of play. The Padres need both pitchers to find their grooves once more in order to maximize their returns on the trade market.

Key Injuries:

The pitching staff continues to be hampered by injuries, and the team is stretched further still with Yates leaving the team for a few days on paternity leave. However, slugger Wil Myers has returned to the lineup and lengthened it considerably and the team is ever so slightly healthier than it was when the teams met in mid June.

* * *

The A’s are looking to light up the skies and the scoreboard during their final two games at Rickey Henderson Field prior to the All Star break. The team has been playing very well of late, now comfortably in third place after a sweep of the Tigers and a series victory against the Indians. The team is in a bit of an awkward in-between position right now, where buying, selling, or staying quiet at the trade deadline all have valid strategic arguments for how the team should act over the next month. Regardless of what course the front office decides to take, this is a team that will stay competitive for the remainder of the season, and should make the AL playoff race, already written off by some pundits, a lot more interesting.

The Padres need their most tradeable players to improve their performances, and quick. With the team in the earlier stages of what is probably closer to a reload than a rebuild, it is imperative for the team to be steady in its eye towards the future and acquire as many future assets as they can. The competition all around them in the NL West is getting stronger each season, and the Padres don’t have the same resources to compete financially with some of the behemoths in the division, so the team has to capitalize on every opportunity out there.

Game #86: Tuesday, July 3rd, 6:05 PM - NBCSCA, FSSD

Chris Bassitt vs Clayton Richard

The A’s will have their work cut out for them in the series opener, with the A’s biggest rotation question mark going toe to toe with the Padres’ rotation anchor. Bassitt recently got his first win at the big league level in well more than a year his last time out, and surely will be looking to double his win total by going up against a less-than-potent offense. Richard is a tough matchup to the A’s for several reasons, but the lefty produces more ground balls than any other pitcher in the MLB, and can give the A’s home run hitters fits.

Game #87: Wednesday, July 4th, 1:05 PM - NBCSCA, FSSD

Sean Manaea vs TBD

Manaea has had a great June following a disappointing May, and the team has won his last three starts. He is continuing to make strides in his ability to pitch, rather than throw, and has shown the ability to alter his approach to batters based on which of his pitches were on or not.