Today the Padres extended their home run streak to twenty-five games, putting them just two away from tying the record set by the 2002 Rangers. That means that when they return home Friday to face the Reds, they’ll have a chance to make history. Can the Cincinnati pitching staff stand in the way of that?
The NL Central cellar dwellers are the single best opponents the Padres could face as they try to set their record. The Reds have allowed an astounding 169 homers this season, leading the Angels and Twins by 35. And that can’t just be chalked up to Great American Ballpark’s hitter-friendly atmosphere. On the road, they’ve been hit with the longball 79 times.
On Friday, the Friars will face the easiest target available in starter Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan has given up 22 home runs in 20 starts, including 8 in the month of July. The last time he didn’t give one up? June 14 in Atlanta. If they keep the streak alive then, the Padres will see Anthony DeSclafani on Saturday. He’s only given up 7 homers... but has only played 9 games, and he’s been hit hard in his last four starts. Finally, Homer Bailey will make his return from Tommy John surgery on Sunday. He’s more of a wild card, as he hasn’t thrown since last year, but he’s not exactly 2011 SB Nation National League Cy Young Award co-winner Clayton Kershaw. And, well, his name is Homer. He carries a career 2.7% HR rate, a tick higher than the MLB average 2.6%, but that’s kept on the low side by a couple of good seasons.
And that’s just the starters. The Reds bullpen has given up a nice 69 bombs this season, with balls leaving the yard in 4.2% of plate appearances against their beleaguered relievers. These pitchers are so bad that if the Padres do set the record, someone will want to add an asterisk that says “Record set against some of the most atrocious pitching the sport has ever known.”
There’s no sure things in baseball, but the odds definitely favor the Padres this weekend.