Everybody knows about the Padres' struggles at the plate this season. This is a lineup that's hitting just .214 on the season – 23 points worse than any other team in the league.
We also know their pitching has been lights out. It kept them in last weekend's series with the Dodgers by allowing just seven runs in four games. Unfortunately, they lost three of those -- two by a score of 1-0 and another 2-1 -- and are reeling as they come out of the All-Star break.
They welcome a New York Mets team with many of the same problems -- solid pitching but a lineup that ranks 26th in batting average and 28th in slugging.
So, will anybody be able to score this weekend? Let's break down the series.
Friday, 7:10 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 7-9, 3.47) vs. Bartolo Colon (R, 8-8, 3.99)
Kennedy has allowed just two earned runs over his past three starts. He threw eight scoreless and struck out eight Dodgers last weekend but go a no-decision in a – you guessed it – 1-0 loss. Colon gave up just two runs in 7 1/3 innings in a win over the Padres last month.
Saturday, 5:40 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 7-10, 2.85) vs. Dillon Gee (4-1, 2.56)
That’s now five straight quality starts for Ross, with just one win to show for it. Gee can top that with six straight QS, allowing just six runs total in that stretch.
Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: Odrisamer Despaigne (2-1, 1.35) vs. Zack Wheeler (5-8, 3.90)
OD picked up his first career loss over the weekend despite pitching seven strong innings allowing seven hits and two runs without walking a batter. It looks to be another pitcher’s duel as Wheeler has allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts.
What’s at stake: Man, that Dodgers series hurt. The Padres were within 10 games of the division lead before losing three of four to fall 12 back at the break. That probably cemented their spot as sellers in the trade deadline market, so expect some names to get moved over the next few weeks.
Hopefully the four-day break helped heal some wounds, as the Padres have gaping holes due to injuries.
Surprisingly, the Mets have pulled themselves out of the standings gutter and stand just seven games back of the division and wild card leads. Will they have enough to compete with Atlanta and Washington at the top of the NL East? At least they’re in the conversation.
The Mets took two of three in Queens earlier this year. This is the last time the teams will see each other this season.
Manager Bud Black shed some light on the rash of Padres injuries. First, he said Tommy Medica would be able to pinch hit tonight, but probably not run.
"We're hoping he can hit it over the fence so he can jog around the bases," Black joked.
As for the more serious injuries, Jedd Gyorko (foot) will play in Fresno this weekend, but is probably at least a week away from returning. Everth Cabrera (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment as early as Monday. First baseman Yonder Alonso will play this weekend in Arizona. Andrew Cashner (shoulder) will start a throwing program this weekend, but there's still no time table for his return.
"It's always good when hurt players are playing again," Black said.
Who to watch:
Padres: Left-fielder Seth Smith was the star of the first half in this lineup and continues to swing a hot stick – hitting .370 with a pair of homers – in July. Ditto third baseman Chase Headley, whose .327 average in July is more than 100 points higher than any other month this season. Outfielder Alexi Amarista has hits in eight of his last 10 games.
Mets: Second baseman Daniel Murphy ranks third in the National League with 113 hits. He also leads the team with 56 runs scored and has a hit in six of his last seven games. First baseman Lucas Duda leads the team with 14 homers and 47 RBIs. He’s hitting .323 in his last 10 games. Eric Young Jr. is among the league leaders with 25 stolen bases despite hitting just .236 on the season.
Coming up: The Padres hit the road for a week after this, visiting the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves before returning home to face the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29.