The Padres dropped a contentious series against the Cubs and have returned home to face the Detroit Tigers. With some bats heating up and some more overdue, the team faces one of the weaker pitching staffs in the AL. Standing in their way is a starting pitcher whose name might be familiar to those who closely watch trade rumors. Can the Friars tame some kittens and earn a win tonight?
Today’s matchup features Luis Perdomo, who is coming off of two solid starts against Cincinatti and Milwuakee. If he can continue his trend of 6+ innings pitched with three earned runs or less, he can keep the Padres in this game. He’s been far from efficient, often leaning on inning-ending double plays to get out of jams, but it’s been working for him. The Tigers have one of the lowest groundball rates in the game, so Perdomo may have trouble inducing those double plays tonight. Andy Green sent five relievers to the bump in the final game of the Cubs series, so even with the day off there is incentive for Perdomo to work late into this game if at all possible.
If the name Michael Fulmer sounds familiar to you, it may be because he was a rumored potential return for Justin Upton at the 2015 trade deadline. The Padres decided to stick it out and kept Upton for the season, and in retrospect a deadline move may have netted more value than the compensatory round pick that they got when Upton signed with the Tigers. Whether the Fulmer trade rumor was legitimate or not shall never be known. At the time the word was that Padres scouts weren’t confident that Fulmer would stick as an MLB starter. Well, he did, and he’s a really good one - so good that he won the AL’s Rookie of the Year award last season. His sophomore campaign has been limited with some shoulder bursitis, but he’s been consistently solid and durable, pitching through some discomfort and only missing one start so far.
Fulmer only throws his fastball for roughly 60% of his pitches, leaning heavily on a slider and changeup. The fastball sits in the mid-90’s, and the “off-speed” pitches are still coming in at 85-90mph, with late action and changes in eye level combined with a deceptive delivery that hides the ball late and an arm action that makes it hard to discern what pitch is coming out of his hand. Padres hitters have struggled mightily against pitchers with this profile, so look for the lefties in the lineup to set the plate and work deep counts to try to chase him early. The Tigers’ bullpen is their weakness, so Padres hitters need to be patient and selective to have a chance in this matchup.
The Tigers have some of the game’s best hitters in their lineup, including future HoFer Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and former Padre Justin Upton. The Padres have some sneaky potent bats of their own, and they’re hungry to avenge some 1984 history!
Start time: 7:10PM PDT
Radio: 94.9FM, 860AM (Español)
TV: Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Deportes San Diego