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Padres Preview: 7/30 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

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Clayton Richard squares off against Gerrit Cole while the Padres see the returns of Yangervis Solarte and Austin Hedges to the lineup. Can the Padres complete a sweep?

Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres
Welcome back, guys!
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images
San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Are ye ready kids?
AYE AYE CAPTAIN!!!
OOOHHH....
Who plays in a palace that’s next to the sea?
San Diego Padres!
Raucous and bousterous, brown & yellow is we!
San Diego Padres!
If baseballing fun times be something you wish,
San Diego Padres!
Then pick up a bat and step to the dish!
San Diego Padres!
San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres, San Diego Padres, Saaan Dieeegoooo Padres!

Okay, now that I got that nonsense out of my system, let’s preview a baseball game, eh?

Today’s roster will look a little different from the last week or so, and for good reason. We’re getting the band back together!

The starting lineups haven’t been announced yet, but it’s likely that both Solarte and Hedges should be in there. Hedges should be a very welcome sight behind the dish for the pitching staff, but where will Yangervis Solarte play? Carlos Asuaje and Cory Spangenberg have been playing some excellent ball both in the field and at the plate, so while Solarte was in El Paso he got a start at shortstop. Might we see Slowarte manning the middle? That should be interesting.

New York Mets v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Taking the mound for the Padres will be Clayton Richard. The lefty was seen as a possible trade asset earlier in the season, but his recent struggles have changed that. He’s given up four or more earned runs in five of his last six starts, including a ten-run shellacking against the Rockies. He’s seemed healthy throughout, as his velocity has stayed constant and the breaking stuff has its usual movement, he’s just been making more mistakes than earlier this year... and they all seemed to get punished. Still, he’s turned in some quality starts, going eight or more innings four more times this season. He’ll give up his share of hits, but he can minimize the damage when his location is on.

Pittsburgh Pirates v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Gerrit Cole was the first overall selection of the 2011 draft and can often pitch like it, but he’s had quite the Jekyll-and-Hyde season as well. The 26-year-old righty has seen a drop in his K% this season while his HR/FB rate has skyrocketed. The 4.12 ERA seems pretty legit with his FIP of 4.19 and xFIP of 3.83, so it’s not just bad luck. He’s throwing his fastball less this season than in recent years, going to a changeup more often, but the fastball still has the high-90’s zip that it’s always had. The Padres have a gang of fastball hitters, so if they can sit dead red, we might see some longballs today.

After today’s game the team gets a day off at home before hosting the Minnesota Twins. It’s the third and final game of the series, and the Padres have won the first two, so you know what that means... BREAK OUT YER MOPS!! IT’S TIME TO SWAB THE DECK!! (That’s the Pirate version of a series sweep, right?)

Game time: 1:40 pm PT
TV: FSSD, Fox Deportes San Diego (Sp.)
Radio: FM 94.9, XEMO 860 (Sp.)