Tomorrow is Opening Day! The day we have all been waiting for. The San Diego Padres enter the season without their superstar shortstop and will have to play some real World Series contenders in the first month of the regular season. We are supposed to be a week into the season already but the CBA agreement took too long to be agreed upon so we’ve got an April 7 Opening Day.
Here are the Padres opponents for the month of April:
April 7-10: at Arizona Diamondbacks
Yu Darvish gets the start tomorrow night in Arizona and this seems like a good opponent for the Friars to start off their season with. The Diamondbacks likely aren’t looking to contend for a title this season despite bringing in Mark Melancon, Zach Davies, and Ian Kennedy. With this said, the Diamondbacks still had some success at home against San Diego last season. I know I don’t have to remind you about Tyler Gilbert no-hitting the Padres on August 14, 2021.
The Padres, on the other hand, are trying to go deep into the postseason and should have a good chance of winning the series with Darvish, Sean Manaea and Joe Musgrove on the mound the first three games of this series.
April 11-13: at San Francisco Giants
It’s hard to predict what the Giants are going to be this season. They improved the rotation by adding Carlos Rodon but also are already seeing some of their age hurting them with Evan Longoria being sidelined for six weeks with a finger injury. Their entire infield is at least 30 years old with Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt entering their 12th seasons on the team. Losing a 3.5 WAR player in Buster Posey also doesn’t help.
These games between San Diego and San Francisco should be competitive all season long but it’s really anyone’s guess where Gabe Kapler’s squad will be in the playoff race come September. Time will tell if they’re able to win more than 100 games for the second season in a row.
April 14-17: vs Atlanta Braves
Ah, the home opener! Petco Park will be filled to capacity on April 14 and the fact that the reigning World Series champions are going to be in the building makes the day that much better. This series is going to be tough, as the Braves can make an argument that they’re even better than they were last season.
Kenley Jansen and Collin McHugh were added to the bullpen. Freddie Freeman is great but Matt Olson isn’t a bad option to replace him and that’s exactly who the Braves replaced Freeman with. Ronald Acuna Jr. is back this season after suffering an ACL injury in Miami last year and he’s one of the best players in baseball. Acuna will be back in May into a lineup that currently includes Olson, Austin Riley, Marcell Ozuna (back from his suspension), Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Travis d’Arnaud, and Adam Duvall.
Saturday, April 16th’s game will be on FS1 and Sunday, April 17th’s game will be on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
April 18-20: vs Cincinnati Reds
This is a series the Padres need to win and I’m comfortable saying that before the season even begins because the Reds are not trying to win while the Padres are. Cincinnati traded away Sonny Gray, Eugenio Suarez, Jesse Winker, and Amir Garrett after the lockout. The bright spot for Reds fans is they get to see Hunter Greene in their rotation with Joey Votto still in the lineup. Oh, and a guy named Tommy Pham will be in their lineup as well so Reds fans should have fun with him.
In case you don’t remember, here’s a funny moment Votto had at Petco Park last season when he was ejected early in the game:
April 22-24: vs Los Angeles Dodgers
Talk about an early season measuring stick. The Padres have one with the Braves in their first home series of the season and another to close out their April home slate with the mighty Dodgers. Los Angeles is obviously the more complete team on paper in comparison to the Padres. However, they did lose Jansen, A.J. Pollock, and Max Scherzer this offseason (but came back and added Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Tyler Anderson and Daniel Hudson.)
The real measuring stick between the two teams will be when Fernando Tatis Jr. is healthy later on in the season because it’s just not fair to have the Padres best player out and people around baseball actually measuring the two teams up against one another. That would be like the Dodgers being without Trea Turner and having Gavin Lux fill in as the shortstop.
April 26-28: at Cincinnati Reds
I covered the Reds earlier in the article for the Padres home series against them and as of now, this series in Cincinnati should also be series win for the Friars.
Hopefully San Diego doesn’t have to face Greene during this series at the end of April because he throws some serious gas.
April 29-May 1: at Pittsburgh Pirates
I talked about the Reds not trying to win earlier and it’s the same case for the Pirates. Bryan Reynolds was floated in trade rumors earlier this spring but the Pirates wanted too much in return. Other than Reynolds, the only other notable names on the team are Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Jose Quintana. Oneil Cruz is their version of C.J. Abrams but Pittsburgh didn’t put him on the Opening Day roster so it looks like they’re pulling a Kris Bryant on Cruz like the Chicago Cubs did on Bryant in 2015.