Okay, so the Padres just lost three of four from a bad Texas Rangers team. They lost a nail biter, they lost a blowout, and they lost a gut-punch of a walk-off. On one hand, it’s demeaning and embarrassing as a fan, but on the other hand, it actually fits the long-term plan if you have embraced the tank. If I were to draw up a perfect tanking season, I’d have my team sweep the division and then lost basically every other game on the schedule to a) secure the first overall pick and pool allotments that come with it and b) spoil everything for the rest of the division. By that method, losing three out of four to a not-good Rangers team isn’t the worst thing ever. Therefore, going into Chicago expecting to blow the series against the White Sox mentally prepares me for failure and any positives that come from it are pure gravy. Such is the life of a Padres fan.
Jhoulys Chacin’s 4-for-14 performance at the plate places his .286 average in third place among all Padres hitters, so maybe it’s a bonus that he’s in the lineup today as well as on the mound. He’s coming off a 5-1/3 inning no-decision start against the Dodgers where he only surrendered one run, which was one of his better outings of the season. Working to his advantage today is the fact that the entire White Sox roster only has seven total at-bats against him, although Todd Frazier’s hit off him was of the four-bagger kind. Clayton Richard’s spoiled gem yesterday gave the bullpen some relief, so if Chacin struggles, Andy Green will have some arms ready to take over should the need arise.
You may remember Miguel Gonzalez from his time with the Orioles, where he spent the first four years of his MLB service time, but this is his second year with the pale sox. He qualifies as a “junkballer”, throwing his fastball less than half the time, relying heavily on sliders, curveballs, and splitters. Someone print that last sentence out and hand it to Hunter Renfroe, who should really be sitting on fastballs and laying off silly things like splitters in the dirt. Gonzalez has consistently performed better than his FIP would indicate, and this season is no different. He’s been pitching like a front-end starter, so the Padres hitters have their hands full tonight.
Comerica Park is one of the stadiums I’ve had the fortune to visit, and while it’s nice enough, it’s completely devoid of character. It’s in a bad part of town, where you get off the train, get straight to the park, then get back to the train as quickly as you reasonably can. They have plenty of features to try to manufacture character, but in the end it feels like a stale ballpark with some window dressing. When you contrast that with crosstown competitor Wrigley Field, there’s no competition. Wrigley oozes character and history, and the surrounding neighborhoods become a huge block party on game day. Today should be another day at the office for these Padres players, and if they could hang a W up on a tough pitcher, it would be a day well spent.
Start time: 5:10PM PDT
Radio: 94.9FM, 860AM (Español)
TV: Fox Sports San Diego