The Padres begin the 2013 season on the road, taking on the Mets at Citi Field. In the season opener, San Diego will send Edinson Volquez to the mound. This will be his third career Opening Day start (second for the Padres), so he is no stranger to the excitement surrounding this beloved day.
Volquez is coming off an action-packed Spring in which he had the honor of pitching for the 2013 World Baseball Classic Champions, the Dominican Republic. So he has already pitched in some really meaningful games this year. In 2012, he went 11-11 in 32 outings. He only missed one of his starts, which was a miracle considering how many starting pitchers the Padres went through last year. Volquez, with the help of Darren Balsley, worked on his mechanics this past offseason prior to the WBC. After leading the league in walks last year and showing some major control issues throughout his first year as a Padre, we can only hope that his work pans out and we'll see some improvements in 2013. His last Spring Training start, however, saw him doing some of the same old stuff, issuing six walks over five innings of work against the Reds. But he did a pretty good job of limiting the damage otherwise, allowing just one run on a solo homer.
Last season Volquez pitched, and lost, two games against the Mets. In his first outing against them he gave up two runs on five hits and three walks, but also struck out five in 5 2/3 innings of work. His second time facing New York was far worse. He struck out three batters, but only lasted 1 2/3 innings after giving up four earned runs on two hits and four walks. He is 0-4 with a 6.46 ERA in five career starts against the Mets, so he'll be looking for his first win there today.
New York will counter with Jon Niese, who got the Opening Day nod when Johan Santana was sent to the DL. Niese is coming off a career year that earned him a long-term extension with the team. He had a strong Spring, boasting a 1.53 ERA through 17 2/3 innings pitched. He has a 1.99 ERA and 1-2 lifetime record in three starts against the Padres (although he didn't pitch against them last season).
On the offensive side, we'll see Cody Ransom make his Padres debut at third base. In 2012 he appeared in 90 major league games, the most he's ever played in a single season. He also set career highs in home runs (11) and RBI (42) while splitting time between the Brewers and Diamondbacks. With the injuries to Chase Headley and Logan Forsythe, Ransom is getting a great opportunity to begin the season with more major league playing time, and he'll be looking to get the most out of it. Similarly, Jedd Gyorko hopes to take advantage of his opportunity as he makes his major league debut against the Mets. Gyorko spent most of his Spring at second base, where he will make the start tomorrow. But he'll also spend time this season at his natural position at third. Gyorko raked in the minors and put up some great numbers this Spring, so there are high expectations on him to be a solid bat in the Padres lineup this season.