Yesterday we saw something that was only seen twice before. A rainout at Petco Park. With a crazy schedule for the first two months of the season, the players and staff likely saw the surprise break as a welcome relief and a day to get rested and reset. Now the Padres host the Rangers for one of these wacky four-game “home-and-home” matchups, where they play two games in San Diego and then go to Arlington to play the Rangers for two games, with no travel day in between. It’s odd, I don’t understand the charm, but I guess it’s kinda cool for the handful of Rangers fans who will come to San Diego to see their team play in our town and then host the Padres the next day. It’s an odd arrangement, but that’s the lot this team is dealt to start this week.
Trevor Cahill takes the mound again for the Padres. His good start continued last week, when he pitched six strong innings against the Rockies with no earned runs and seven strikeouts against no walks. He’s deceiving hitters at a remarkable rate, getting more swings on balls out of the zone vs. swings on balls in the zone than anyone in the game right now. It’s a remarkable turnaround for a guy working to reestablish himself as a front-end starter. The Rangers lineup has thump all over, so weak contact may be more important than strikeouts in today’s matchup. In that case, improved defense may be key as well, as we’ve seen a rash of errors in recent games. A day off should have given the coaching staff some time to go over tape and drill some fundamentals into these guys. With two days off in the first two months of the season, it’s hard to keep the focus sharp, and that may be the staff’s tallest task.
Nick Martinez fell from essentially a full-time starter for the Rangers in 2014 and 2015 to a swingman role in 2016, spending much of the season with the AAA Round Rock Express. Now he’s back in the Rangers’ rotation to start the season, and it’s gone from pretty good to pretty bad. His first start was a seven-inning, one-run gem, giving up three hits and one walk. Pretty good. His most recent start went 5-1/3 innings with six earned runs on nine hits (three home runs) and three walks. Pretty bad. Martinez pairs low-90’s four-seam and two-seam fastballs with an equal mix of sliders, curveballs, and changeups. So far this season, it’s been less fastballs and more breaking stuff. Padres hitters have been quick to swing at breaking balls out of the zone, so their scouting report should tell them to be patient at the plate and lay off the sucker pitches.
A day off means another day of rest for the bullpen, another day of work with the coaches, and some time to relax and reset the machine. This team should be coming back to the park fresh and ready to run some Rangers out of town!
Start time: 7:10PM PDT
Radio: 94.9FM, 860AM (Español)
TV: Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Deportes San Diego