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Padres Preview: Jered Weaver vs. A.J. Griffin & the Texas Rangers

A throwback AL West matchup of soft-tossers on getaway day! Hooray!

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres
Jered Weaver has go-go-gadget long arms.
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Let’s travel back to 2013. Jered Weaver is coming off a 20-win season where he led the league with a 1.018 WHIP and the A’s have a young stud starter of their own named A.J. Griffin who just had a very promising rookie campaign. If we were really in 2013, this would be a marquee AL West matchup. Instead it’s 2017 and neither Weaver nor Griffin are those guys any more. What they are is a pair of crafty soft-tossers who throw a ton of breaking stuff with deceptive deliveries that give them arsenals more typical of a lefty than a righty.

Jered Weaver has been either decent or unwatchable. At his best he turns in six innings of carefully-managed baseball, typically marred only by one or two minimally damaging longballs. At his worst he’s teeing up batting-practice breaking balls over the heart of the plate and forcing the bullpen’s hand. When his location is good he can keep the ball down and induce plenty of weak contact. This Rangers team is built for hard contact so that’s kinda important. If Weaver can keep his breaking stuff down and his fastballs up, he’ll have a fighting chance at a win. Then again, if you look at what the Rangers players have done against Weaver in the past... on second thought, don’t look at that. Look at Peter and Quagmire doing the Safety Dance instead.

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

A.J. Griffin was once one of the better young pitchers in the game, but his promising career was challenged by Tommy John surgery and he subsequently fell off the MLB map for a couple of years as the challenges stacked up throughout his recovery. He was signed as a free agent before the 2016 season and made 23 starts, showing flashes of the talent he had early in his career. His success last year was predicated on heavy usage of breaking pitches, and so far that story is the same this season. In his four starts this season, he’s been using his curveball and changeup more and relying much less on his slider. His fastball can touch 90, so soft-tosser might be a misnomer, but he’s certainly not a power pitcher. As a whole, Padres hitters have fared better against “finesse” pitchers vs. “power” pitchers, which could bode well for today’s matchup.

Today marks Griffin’s first career appearance in his home town, and his first time facing the Padres. The El Cajon native is a Grossmont High graduate and USD alumni. It’s always nice to see a home town kid succeed, so let’s give Mr. Griffin a warm welcome before the first pitch, then politely send the Rangers packing with some more of those tasty longballs.

This game qualifies as a “getaway game”, as both teams will travel to Arlington tonight for the second half of a two-and-two home-and-home series. Weaver and Griffin are two quick-working pitchers, and with the impending travel you know both dugouts would like to make quick work of this game.

Start time: 12:40PM PDT
Radio: 94.9FM, 860AM (Español)
TV: Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Deportes San Diego, MLB Network
Online: MLB.TV