MkFor the first time this year, the Milwaukee Brewers head out west, starting a seven-game road trip in San Diego tonight. Grab your evening coffee.
The Padres are in the middle of their own rebuilding project, quickly building what many consider to be one of the best farm systems in baseball. The major league club, though, is probably the least talented in the majors. Unlike the Atlanta Braves, who we saw earlier this year, the Padres haven't patched holes at the big league level with aging veterans, opting instead to give at-bats and innings to fallen top prospects, never-will-bes, and Rule 5 lottery tickets. As a result, the Padres come into this series with a 14-25 record and the worst winning percentage in the majors.
It isn't all bad, though. Wil Myers has developed into the All-Star many thought he would be, entering this week with a .293/.323/.573 line and leading the Padres in HR (10), RBI (26), OPS (.897) and WAR. Virtually everyone else other than Manuel Margot (.285/.333/.430) has struggled to hit this year.
From the weird statline file, Ryan Schimpf is almost literally only hitting home runs this year. His 9 homers is second on the team and account for half of all of his hits for the season, as he's carrying a .161/.294/.420 line. Overall, though, there aren't many guys in the lineup that post a threat with a bat in their hands.
Monday, 9:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Chase Anderson vs. Luis Perdomo
One of last year's San Diego Rule 5 picks, Perdomo scuffled through last season with a 6.08 ERA in 35 games, 20 of which were starts. He made two of those starts against the Brewers, allowing 5 runs in 8.2 total innings while scattering 14 hits. He's fared much better so far this season, with a 4.13 ERA (2.97 FIP) through 5 starts, although he oddly hasn't been involved in a decision yet this year. He's coming off a 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 7 K outing against the Texas Rangers in his last start. He's striking out 7.94 batters per 9 innings this year, but his walk rate is north of 3 per 9. Most of his success this year could probably be attributed to the 69.5% groundball rate he's induced. Between that and the San Diego air, we probably won't be seeing another multi-home run game from the Brewers.
Tuesday, 9:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Jimmy Nelson vs. Clayton Richard
Richard is in his second go-around with the Padres and is another extreme groundball pitcher, inducing a 61.2% groundball rate in his 8 starts so far this year. It's a good thing he keeps the ball on the ground, because he doesn't fool many batters -- his K% is currently only 15.8%, and opposing batters have an 89.5% contact rate on pitches inside the zone. Despite being relatively easy to hit, he'll come into this start with a perfectly fine 4.34 ERA/4.50 FIP.
Wednesday, 9:10 p.m. CDT, FS Wisconsin - Matt Garza vs. Jhoulys Chacin
Formerly an exciting young pitcher for the Rockies, Chacin is now on his fifth organization in the past three seasons. He's another Padres sporting a 6-ish K/9 and a 3-ish BB/9, but unlike Perdomo and Richard, Chacin has had some trouble keeping the ball in the park this year with a 15.6% HR/FB rate. As such, his xFIP of 4.31 is quite a bit lower than his ERA of 5.12, but you have to be pretty hittable to still carry significant home run rates while pitching for the Padres.
Thursday, 2:40 p.m. CDT, Brewers Radio Network - Zach Davies vs. Trevor Cahill
Another castoff from a former NL West rival, Cahill is one of the few Padres pitchers actually throwing pretty well to this point in the season. He's the team leader in ERA (3.27) and has struck out 51 batters in 41.1 innings -- a K% of 29.5%, which is extremely unusual for a guy with a career 17.2% rate and a reputation of being more of a "force weaker grounders" kind of guy. As FanGraphs noted a couple weeks ago, he's doing it by using his curveball more getting guys to swing and miss at it, thanks in large part to him not working himself into trouble early in the count as much. The Brewers have shown great patience at the plate lately and working themselves into favorable counts, but they may face a problem on Thursday if they get a little too passive. It also might be worth noting that Cahill has a career 2.29 ERA against the Brewers in 13 appearances, but only one of those was a start.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs