The waiting is over. Now it’s time to get on with the rest of the season.
Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline passed with just one more casualty from the Padres roster – outfielder Chris Denorfia, whose much-anticipated ticket out of town was punched with a deal involving the Seattle Mariners.
Now, barring any minor waiver wire trades, the core of the team is set for the season until the September call-ups arrive.
Really, the addition by subtraction has gone pretty well. Since the Padres announced the trade of closer Huston Street on July 18, they are 7-6 and have won three of four series. They've also been hitting the ball, scoring nearly 5 1/2 runs per game over their past nine. This from a team that has been shut out more than anyone else this season.
The only series loss since the trades started going down came to the Atlanta Braves last weekend. Conveniently, that same team comes to Petco this weekend for a rematch. The Braves are in the middle of a playoff race while the Padres teeter on the edge of fourth place in the National League West. But now they’re ridin’ lean with a revamped roster. Will they continue to find success?
Let’s break down the weekend.
Friday, 7:10 p.m.: Eric Stults (L, 3-13, 5.22) vs. Mike Minor (L, 4-6, 5.23)
Could anybody use a victory more than Stults? He has one win since May 10. He took the loss (big surprise) against the Braves last weekend, giving up six runs in as many innings. Minor got the win against the Padres last weekend, but gave up six earned runs in his two previous starts.
Saturday, 5:40 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 8-9, 3.66) vs. Ervin Santana (R, 10-6, 3.63)
Now that all the trade rumors are over, Kennedy can just focus on pitching. It hasn’t been a problem lately, as he has won three straight. Santana has also won three straight, racking up double-digit strikeouts in his last two starts.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 10-10, 2.60) vs. Aaron Harang (9-6, 3.43)
It would be a shame if Ross doesn’t at least get some consideration for the NL Cy Young. He now has eight straight quality starts, is sixth in the league in ERA and tied for fourth with 150 strikeouts. #TyforCy. It’s a homecoming for Harang, who played high school ball at Patrick Henry High and in college at San Diego State. He also has a four-game win streak and hasn’t lost in over a month.
What’s at stake: It’s sweep or bust for the Padres if they want to win the season series over the Braves after dropping three of four in Atlanta last weekend. They are also dangerously close to getting passed by the Diamondbacks for third place, leading by just half a game. Not that it matters much, as the Dodgers are once again run making a late-season run with six straight wins. They have a 3 ½ game lead on the Giants.
Meanwhile, the Braves lead the race for the second wild card spot and trail the Washington Nationals by just 1 ½ games for the division lead. Of course, they are no strangers to the playoffs, having made the postseason two of the last three years.
Who to watch:
Padres: Infielder Yangervis Solarte is making himself right at home after coming over in the Chase Headley deal. He is hitting .324 in nine games with the team, including a four-hit night on Wednesday. Outfielder Seth Smith is coming off a July where he was among the league leaders with a .358 average – although he has cooled off this week with just a pair of hits in his last 15 at-bats. And how about second baseman Jedd Gyorko, finally coming out of a season-long slump with six hits and two homers against the Cardinals this week. His average is still just .183 on the season.
Braves: Outfielder Justin Upton leads the team with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs. He has a hit in his last five games. First baseman Freddie Freeman leads the team and is seventh in the NL with 28 doubles. Rookie second baseman Tommy La Stella leads the team with a .294 average.
Coming up: It’s back to the road as the Padres visit Minnesota and Pittsburgh next week before returning home to play the Rockies on Aug. 11.