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Series Preview: San Diego Padres @ Milwaukee Brewers

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The Brewers hope to keep the pressure on the Cubs in the NL Central race while they host the NL’s worst team this week

MLB: San Diego Padres at Chicago Cubs Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres may be the worst team in the National League and third-worst team in all of baseball, but they did the Brewers a solid on Sunday when they broke out the bats to beat the Cubs 10-6, ensuring the Brewers would stay at just 1 GB of Chicago in the NL Central race.

We haven’t seen the Padres since the very first series of the year, when the Brewers swept them to start off the 2018 season. Since then, the Padres have been about as bad as expected as they continue their rebuilding effort.

Only two National League teams, the Marlins and the Mets, are worse than the Padres in runs scored this year, and just barely -- San Diego is just 5 runs better than dead last. It’s crazy to think there’s a team that has an overall on-base percentage below .300, but the Padres are sitting at a league-worst .297. With that in mind -- and the fact they have the second-worst slugging-percentage in the league -- it’s probably not a surprise that the Padres have the worst OPS in the National League.

Eric Hosmer signed an 8-year, $144 million contract with the Padres in the offseason. He’s gone on to put up an OPS of .711 and has barely been above replacement level at 0.1 WAR. Still, he leads the Padres in batting average (.254), OBP (.322) and RBI (46). I told you it’s been bad.

The pitching hasn’t been much better, despite benefiting from the spacious Petco Park, and just about any veteran that’s had a mild amount of success this year -- Brad Hand, Adam Cimber, Tyson Ross and new Brewer Jordan Lyles -- are all pitching for new teams.

Probable Pitchers

Tuesday - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Clayton Richard vs. Chase Anderson

Wednesday - 7:10 p.m. CDT
Brett Kennedy vs. Jhoulys Chacin

Thursday - 1:10 p.m. CDT
Robbie Erlin vs. Junior Guerra

Richard has soaked up innings for the Padres so far, but he’s remained one of the most hittable pitchers in the league. He’s allowed an NL-leading 76 earned runs in 137 innings, leading to a 4.99 ERA in 23 starts. His first start of the year -- Opening Day against the Brewers -- was actually likely his best, when he only gave up 1 run across 7 innings (Chase Anderson threw 6 shutout innings in that game, which the Brewers eventually won in extra innings). Richard gave up 25 of those 76 earned runs in July, but he is coming off of a solid start in which he only allowed 2 runs in 5 innings against the Giants.

Kennedy is the dreaded Rookie Making His First Major League Start Against The Brewers, debuting in this series after putting up a 2.72 ERA in 16 starts at the Triple-A level in the hitter-friendly PCL. While he doesn’t rank in the Top 30 prospects in San Diego’s incredibly deep system, Minor League Ball’s John Sickels did rate him as an above-average prospect with a C+ grade. He’s struck out 80 batters in 89.1 innings this year with a 1.119 WHIP. He’s getting this opportunity to start after the Brewers claimed Jordan Lyles off waivers from the Padres over the weekend.

Erlin has spent much of the year in relief for San Diego, but will be making his 4th start of the year in this series. The 27-year-old has a 3.22 cumulative ERA in 64.2 innings and has held opponents to a .631 OPS, but has not gone longer than 5 innings in a start this year. That was his last outing, when he actually held the Cubs to 1 run on 2 hits over those 5 innings. His first two starts came in spot start duty earlier this year in what were essentially bullpen games -- he went 3 innings to start a game against the Dodgers in April and 4 innings against Washington in May. Even in relief, though, he’s specialized in longer outings, with 16 of his 30 appearances going for more than 2 innings.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference