The Mets just played the Padres at Citi Field a week ago, so instead of posting the same thing again, or rewriting it in pirate non-sense, here’s a link to last week’s preview of San Diego, which covers most of the basics. But let’s get on with the updates here:
1. Petco Park, where this series will be played, is the most extreme pitcher’s park in the majors. According to Seamheads’ excellent ballpark site, the Padres’ home reduces run scoring by 18%, and it’s absolutely brutal on lefthanded home run hitters. It’s a nice place to pitch as a fly ball righty, but none of the Mets pitchers this series, R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese, fit that bill.
2. Switch-hitting, smooth fielding Chase Headley, the Padres’ best player (they don’t have many good players), is still sidelined with a fractured finger. Prospects James Darnell and Logan Forsythe have manned third base in his absence; both of them have torn up Triple-A, though neither has hit well in the majors as of yet. Catcher Nick Hundley is back in action behind the plate after missing the last series.
3. The Padres, who scored the fewest runs in the league before the All Star break, lead the NL in runs scored since the break. The complete offensive turnaround has been fueled mostly by Jesus Guzman, the career minor leaguer who played in just 17 games in the first half: He’s hitting .371 with a 1.018 OPS and 26 RBI as the starting first baseman in the second half. Cameron Maybin has helped too, scoring 23 runs in 28 games and going 18 for 19 stealing bases.
4. While the offense has reversed course, the Padres are still just 14-16 since the break because their pitching has also made a 180-degree turn. The Padres’ had a 3.24 ERA in the first half, a number that’s jumped to 4.13 in the second half — mostly because, for whatever reason, they’ve started serving up lots of home runs. The Padres allowed 57 home runs in 92 first-half games, but then 31 long balls in 30 second-half games. The main offenders are Tim Stauffer, eight longballs (five in his last start) and a 5.40 ERA in six starts, and Chad Qualls, five homers allowed and a 7.90 ERA in 15 relief outings.
5. The Mets, with Mike Baxter, are playing in San Diego this week, then play Milwaukee back in New York over the weekend. Thus, this is officially the Anchorman week of the season, and you’re all given express, written consent by the office of the commissioner to watch the movie on Thursday’s off-day:
Aren’t we all Ron. Aren’t we all.