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Three key Padres takeaways from Arizona into San Francisco

Three key takeaways from Arizona as the Padres will face their first real test of the season in San Francisco.

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

A four-game sweep to start the season would’ve been fantastic. But, 3-1 on the road is an elite alternative. Doesn’t matter if it’s Arizona or Los Angeles. These are the games the Padres need to win to ensure another disappointing season doesn’t happen.

Bounce back year for Profar?

There is no way to sugarcoat it. Jurickson Profar had an underwhelming 2021 season .227/.329/.320 and only four home runs. The Padres just wrapped up the opening series in which Profar played in three of the four. Yet, Profar has already hit half the amount of home runs as he did for the entire 2021 season.

Barrel Percentage

Jurickson Profar Batted Balls Barrels Barrel %
Jurickson Profar Batted Balls Barrels Barrel %
2021 292 8 2.7%
2022 8 2 25%

With thirteen plate appearances, the data is slim. But, one thing that catches my eye. Profar put 292 balls in play last season and he barreled up eight of them. So far this season Profar has put eight balls in play with two of them being barreled up. The consistency to maintain a 25% barrel percentage seems near impossible. But I will tell you one thing, besides health or skill, baseball has a lot to do about a player’s confidence and Profar has a lot of it right now.

Best 1-2-3 in the NL West?

Dodgers and Giants have gained a lot of respect around the baseball world for their rotation. It’s time to start respecting the Padres rotation.

Yu Darvish is back to his all-star form after a 6 inning no-hit bid on Opening Day. Last season batters hit .340 off the cutter. That’s not good considering that was his most thrown pitch in 2021. Darvish has now adjusted and is showing early signs of using the cutter as a secondary pitch this season. So far, so good.

It’s early but with injuries to Mike Clevinger and Blake Snell, could the Sean Manaea trade save the season for Padres? Without that deal, this rotation would’ve looked very similar to last season with Darvish and Musgrove at the top and question marks to follow. Manaea was fantastic, not allowing a single hit through seven innings. Through one start Manaea is seeing an uptick in spin rate and that’ll be difficult for any hitter to drive the ball into the outfield. Manaea's primary pitch is a sinker which resulted in a 57% groundball rate against Arizona.

Joe Musgrove is only entering year two with the club. But this rotation is so new, Musgrove already feels like the ol’ reliable of the crew. While hitters did barrel up Musgrove more than Manaea and Darvish. The Padres third starter racked up more strikeouts than Manaea and Darvish combined with eight.

A grand total of 19 innings pitched between the three with just two runs across. If you’re keeping track at home that’s a 0.95 era between the three. That’s clearly an early advantage over both division rivals.

Starting Pitchers combined ERA games 1-3

team Innings Pitched Earned Runs ERA
team Innings Pitched Earned Runs ERA
San Diego 19 2 0.95
San Francisco 14.2 4 2.45
Los Angeles 10 6 5.40

Time for concern

Let the Snell question marks begin. The lefty was slated to start the series opener finale and then he was a last-second scratch. A left adductor tightness is what didn’t allow Snell to go yesterday. In a comparison of Snell’s injury last year, Melvin described Snell’s left adductor tightness as the “same type of injury but not near as bad”. In terms of going on the IL, Melvin said “probably”. Well, maybe Mackenzie Gore will see his first MLB action sooner than anticipated.

The Padres will head north to last season’s division winner the San Francisco Giants. Buckle up, this will be San Diego’s first test this season. Although, each games counts, I don’t think too many people would consider the Diamondbacks a “test” for these Padres.