After a four-game series in Seattle that can only be described as “bad” the Tigers will continue their west coast road trip, heading south to San Diego, home of Comic-Con, a zoo, and something called the Padres.
The now last-place Tigers will take on the not last-place Padres over three games, and in order to understand what to expect, we talked to Richard Garfinkel, staff writer for the SB Nation Padres blog Gaslamp Ball, and the Padres season so far, and which players to keep an eye on.
Congrats on being better than the Giants this season!
Normally we'd be thrilled by such an event. But in this particular year, the only thing we want to be better than the Giants at is tanking. It's fun to enjoy the misery of Giants fans, but we really, really want the best draft pick we can get.
I’ve noticed a trend that when the Padres have lost this season it seems to be by a huge margin. 3-14, 0-11, 3-15, etc. Where are you noticing troubles in these games, is it a pitching thing or just a matter of the offense not heating up when they’re needed?
Well, the first thing you have to understand about the 2017 Padres is that A.J. Preller paid for the pitching staff with the spare change he found in his sofa. The talent to junk ratio is around the level of American Idol auditions. So yeah, the pitching has a tendency to implode in spectacular fashion on the regular. When you combine that with terrible situational hitting (the Friars are batting .229 with runners in scoring position, ahead of just three other teams) you end up with lots of blowouts.
The Tigers have been struggling this season to sit at or near the .500 mark, and when their pitching is on, the offense isn’t, and vice versa. How do you think the Padres can best take advantage of Detroit’s struggles?
Well, maybe the Padres will get lucky? Look, the team is bad this year. Really, really, really, really bad. The best case scenario for any game is we see progress from some of the young guys that are expected to be the future of the team, but wins are irrelevant. We're watching Austin Hedges (who will be back for this series after missing two games thanks to Anthony Rizzo and his dirty "slide"), Hunter Renfroe, and basically any player under 25.
Which Tigers’ player is most concerning for the upcoming series?
Who's on the Tigers again? Kate Upton's boyfriend, right? I'm most concerned with Brad Ausmus looking dreamy.
Utility player Jose Pirela is hitting .351/.422/.596 on the season in 64 plate appearances and has almost as many home runs as Erick Aybar, who the heck is this guy?
Well, first off, let's not use Erick Aybar as a comparison for anything, because that makes me sad. As a Padres fan, I have more than enough to be sad about. And, well, about half the team is just in the majors out of need, so I don't know who a bunch of these guys are, either. With Manuel Margot expected back soon, Pirela could be heading back to the minors soon anyway. On the other hand, Yangervis Solarte is going on the 10-day DL, so maybe Pirela stays. Between the crying and the drinking and the crying and the occasional surprising win, keeping up with the minutiae tends to fall by the wayside.
Actually, who the heck are any of these guys… who should the Tigers be worried about?
Wil Myers, mostly. He's the centerpiece of the team for the next few years at least. Austin Hedges is starting to hit a bit, and his defense is top-notch. Yangervis Solarte has been raking, but again, he just hurt himself, because Padres fans can't have nice things. Phil Maton has yet to allow a run in his 4.2 innings out of the bullpen. Hunter Renfroe has some impressive power if he can learn to take more walks. Franchy Cordero is one of the more highly rated prospects in the system, and he's doing well both offensively and defensively. Plus, that's an 80-grade name.
Dinelson Lamet is facing off against Anibal Sanchez on Saturday. Lamet’s got a 7.50 ERA right now, but struck out 12 batters in his last outing, almost breaking a franchise record, is he on the cusp of having a breakout month, or was that a fluke?
Okay, so, Dinelson Lamet is actually good, or at least has the potential for goodness. It's just that he got totally blown up in his third and fourth starts. But he's a young kid who's been in the majors for less than a month and he's got a fastball with some wicked movement. He's going to stumble here and there as he adjusts to life in the big leagues, but he's got a high ceiling.