Saturday, June 22, 2024
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MLB Preview: San Diego Padres (21-26) at Washington Nationals (20-27)

SAN DIEGO PADRES NOTES:

Friars snap 4-game skid with Sunday’s 7-0 shutout win over Red Sox

  • On Sunday in San Diego, the Padres snapped their 4-game losing streak and shut out the Red Sox for the Padres’ 3rd shutout win of 2023.
  • Rougned Odor had 2-double, 4-RBI game, and though the Padres went just 1-for-10 with RISP in the game, the 1 hit was Odor’s bases-loaded, 2-out, 3-run double in the 1st inning.
  • Michael Wacha earned the win, tossing 6.0 innings of scoreless ball with 4 strikeouts…he allowed 5 hits with 1 walk in 88 pitches.

Padres have gone 3-11 since May 6

  • The Friars’ win on Sunday was just their 3rd in their last 14 games, tying with the Oakland A’s for the fewest wins since May 6 of any team…Padres pitchers since May 6 have the lowest ERA of any NL club (3.19), while Padres batters have the lowest batting average in the Majors (.189)…conversely, the Nationals have MLB’s highest batting average since May 6 at .296.
  • A win today against the Nationals would be their 1st time winning consecutive games since May 3-5. Elias Says…
  • Sunday’s victory was starter Michael Wacha’s team-leading 5th win, and Wacha has been the winning pitcher in each of the Padres last 3 wins overall (May 9 @ MIN, May 15 vs. KC, and May 21 vs. BOS), making it the 1st time in Padres’ history that they had the same starting pitcher in their last three wins within a season with the starter earning a winning decision in each game (Elias).
  • It was the 1st time it had happened in MLB overall since Shohei Ohtani had 3 straight outings for the Angels in 2022.

Age is just a number

  • Yu Darvish, who is 36 years and 280 days old today, has punched out a team-leading 53 batters so far this year…he’s the 2nd oldest pitchers this season with 50+ strikeouts, behind just Charlie Morton’s 54 strikeouts (Morton is 39).

Pads ‘pen keeping us in the game, riding a 30.1 scoreless inning streak

  • The Padres’ bullpen has now been scoreless in each of their last 8 games, and they’ve riding a 30.1 scoreless inning streak entering today’s contest…since May 13, the Friars ‘pen has posted a .149 opponent batting average with 28 strikeouts against 6 walks.
  • Overall, the Padres ‘pen’s .231 opponent AVG and 1.17 WHIP are the lowest of in the National League.

The prodigal Soto returns

  • Juan Soto returns to DC for the 2nd time, having seen them last year for the 1st time on Aug. 12, 2022 (the day that Fernando Tatis Jr. began his suspension for testing positive for a performance enhancing substance).
  • In his last 20 games, Soto has produced a 1.106 OPS, which is the 4th highest of any player in that time (with at least 50 PA)…Soto has hit .333 (24- for-72) with a .467 OBP and .639 SLG in those 20 G since April 29, and prior to April 29th, he had just a .689 OPS in his 1st 27 games to start the season.

Padres have lowest swinging percentage in the NL

  • SD batters have swung at 45.5% of the pitches they’ve seen, ahead of just the Yankees’ 45.2 swing percentage for the lowest swinging % in baseball.

STARTER – YU DARVISH #11
Darvish set for 5th career start vs. Nationals
36-year-old right-hander Yu Darvish looks to get back in the win column tonight vs. the Nationals…last season, he lost both of his starts vs. WSH in back-to-back outings…on Aug. 13, 2022 @ Nationals Park, he allowed 4 runs on 7 hits across 6.0 IP in SD’s 4-3 defeat….his only time working into the 9th inning as a Padre and the 6th time he’s done so in his career came in his next start on Aug, 18, 2022 vs. WSH at Petco Park but he was still tagged with the loss, allowing 3 runs across 8.1 P… and it was the only time he’s worked into the 9th on fewer than 100 pitches (96 pitches).

Darvish tagged with 3rd loss Wed vs. KC
Darvish was tagged with his 3rd loss of the season, and his 1st in 6 starts, last Wednesday in the series finale vs. KC…it was his 8th career start vs. KC, and his first non-quality outing vs. the Royals…he received 1 run-or-fewer for 3rd time this season, and has now received 3 runs-or-fewer in 5 of his 8 outings…the 3.94 run support average (runs scored while he’s in the game) is 13th-lowest among all NL starters (min. 8 starts).

Breaking bad
Since last season, Darvish has thrown the 2nd-most breaking balls (1,987) in MLB, trailing only CWS Dylan Cease’s 2,330 …he has the 2nd-highest spin rate (2,757 rpm) on breaking balls among all NL pitchers (min. 1,250 pitches) since the start of ’22, trailing only Charlie Morton (3,068 rpm)…rotation mate Joe Musgrove (2,722) has the 3rd-highest spin rate on breaking balls among NL starters since ’22.

Stingy against the righties
So far this season, Darvish has limited righties to a .171 clip (12-for-70), the 6th-lowest opp. AVG vs. RHH in the Majors (min. 70 righties faced) and 3rd-lowest in the NL, trailing only Drew Smyly (.165) and teammate Nick Martinez (.165)…LHH are 26-for-101 (.257) against Yu.

Expect the unexpected
Darvish has a .203 xBA, which ranks in the 86th percentile this season, his lowest since he had a .197 xBA in 2016 in the top 6 percentile.

Swing wisely
Entering today, on pitches that get put in play, opponents are batting .455 (10-22)…on 0-1 counts, opponents are 1-9 (.111) and on 0-2 counts, opponents are 0-12…in 1-2 counts, they are 3-for-43 (.070) and in 2-2 counts, opponents are 8-32 (.250)…opponents are 3-11 (.273) when swinging behind 1-0, and he have swung just twice when falling behind 2-0 (0-2)…they’ve also swung just once when down 3-0 (0-1 w/ a BB)…he’s faced 21 batters in full counts, and they are 2-11 with 9 BB.

Owner of the 7th-most double-digit SO games since 2012
Darvish struck out a season-high 12 on April 16 vs. MIL…since his debut 2012 season, Yu has 50 double-digit SO performances, the 7th-most in MLB since 2012…he trails Max Scherzer (104), Chris Sale (80), Jacob deGrom (60), Gerrit Cole (58), Clayton Kershaw (53) & Justin Verlander (52)…he is currently just under the 10.00 SO/9 IP mark at 9.94….last season was the first year he had a sub 10.00 SO/9 IP ratio (9.11) since 2017 w/ TEX (9.72).

WASHINGTON NATIONALS NOTES:

OPPONENT – SAN DIEGO PADRES
The Nationals and Padres play six times this season (3 in D.C., 3 in SD)…Henry Blanco played 67 games for the Padres in 2009…CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore were two of six players acquired from the Padres in the deal that sent Josh Bell and Juan Soto to San Diego at the 2022 Trade Deadline…Mason Thompson was acquired from the Padres a year earlier at the 2021 Trade Deadline…Trevor Williams (Rancho Bernardo HS) and Riley Adams (Canyon Crest Academy / University of San Diego) are from San Diego…Padres manager of media relations JP Nolan was an intern in Washington’s communications department during the 2016 season…Nelson Cruz spent the 2022 season with the Nationals.

SERIES BUSINESS
Following a day off on Monday, the Washington Nationals welcome the San Diego Padres to Nationals Park for a three-game series starting tonight.

  • The Nationals took the weekend series over the Detroit Tigers thanks to a 6-4 win on Sunday afternoon…Washington pounded out a season-high 18 hits, including four-hit efforts from Jeimer Candelario (4-for-5, R) and Riley Adams (4-for-4, 2 2B, HR, RBI, R)…Josiah Gray (5.0 IP, 3 H, ER, 6 BB, 2 SO) earned his fourth win and Hunter Harvey (1.0 IP, 2 SO) earned his second save in as many games.

STATUS CHECK
The Nationals have won the last two, seven of 14 and 11 of their last 21 games…They are 15-14 (.517) dating to April 21 at Minnesota.

  • Washington is 19-21 (.475) after losing six of seven games to start the season…That stretch included series against the Atlanta Braves (1-2) and Tampa Bay Rays (0-3) as well as a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies on their Opening Day.
  • The Nationals are 8-4 (.667) at home since April 30 vs. Pittsburgh…This comes after going 2-11 at home to start the season.

THE CANDY MAN
Jeimer Candelario is 16-for-28 (.571) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, five RBI, one walk and six runs scored across his last seven games…He has at least one extra-base hit in five of the seven games and has multi-hit efforts in six of seven.

  • He’s raised his slash line from .211/.276/.354 on May 14 to .269/.323/.457 entering play today.
  • The 16 hits in seven games are a career-best and are the most he’s had in an eight-game span as well.
  • Beyond this week, Candelario is hitting .291/.351/.523 in his last 23 games.

STREAKIN’ LANE TRAIN
Lane Thomas has reached safely in a career-high 18 straight games and has hit safely in 16 of the 18…Thomas is hitting .338 (25-for-74) with three doubles, a triple, five homers, 12 RBI, four walks, one hit by pitch, two stolen bases and 16 runs scored during this streak.

  • Thomas ranks 12th in the National League with 51 hits, while his .290 average is 13th.

CHASING 1,000
With 996 in hand, Corey Dickerson is four hits away from 1,000 for his career…When he collects hit No. 1,000, he will become the 12th player in Nationals history (2005-pres.) to record his 1,000th hit in a Nationals uniform, according to the Elias Sports Bureau…The last to do it was Brian Dozier in 2019.

  • Since returning from the Injured List, Dickerson is 4-for-12 (.333) with a double, homer, three RBI and three runs in four games.

JOEY HITS
Joey Meneses is tied for fourth in the National League with 55 hits and his .296 batting average ranks 10th.

  • Meneses ranks third in Major League Baseball with 44 hits behind Freddie Freeman (47) and Marcus Semien (45) since April 15…His .333 batting average since April 15th ranks sixth in MLB.
  • He is hitting .364/.397/.509 with five doubles, one homer, 13 RBI, three walks and seven runs scored in his last 13 games.

TODAY’S STARTING PITCHER – #1 MACKENZIE GORE
Left-handed starter was acquired by Washington at the 2022 Trade Deadline…Entered 2020 as the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball and 2021 as the No. 10 prospect, according to Baseball America …Was cited by Baseball America as having the “Best Fastball” in San Diego’s system entering the 2022 season and the “Best Slider” in 2021 and 2018…Was the 2017 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year, just the second baseball player to win the award at the time (Dylan Bundy in 2011; Bobby Witt Jr. in 2019).

LAST START
Allowed four earned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in 5.1 innings of work on May 17 at Miami.

vs. SAN DIEGO
Faces his former club for the first time in his career.

RANKS
Gore ranks first among all Major League left-handed pitchers and sixth in all of Major League Baseball (4th in the NL) with 11.27 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (min. 45.0 IP)…His 58 strikeouts rank 11th in the National League.

  • He ranks eighth among all Major League left-handers (4th in NL) with a 3.69 ERA and a .383 opponents’ slugging percentage (min. 45.0 IP).

SWING AND A MISS
He ranks fourth among all MLB left-handed pitchers with 120 swings and misses this season, according to MLB Statcast…On April 19 vs. Baltimore, he induced a career-high 18 swings and misses in 6.0 innings pitched.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE
Gore’s curveball boasts a 44.6% whiff rate, third-best among all MLB left-handed pitchers (min. 25 PA)…His .178 opponents’ batting average (8-for-45) ranks fifth among MLB lefties.

EARNING THE CAPITAL K IN MacKenzie
Gore’s 58 strikeouts through nine starts are the third-most in Nationals history (2005-pres.) by any pitcher in his first nine starts with the club behind Max Scherzer (72 SO in 2015), Gio Gonzalez (69 SO in 2012) and Patrick Corbin (69 SO in 2019).

  • Gore’s 11.27 strikeouts per would rank fifth in a season in Nationals history (2005-pres.)…See chart to the right for the top 10 SO/9.0 inning seasons in team history.

WELCOME TO D.C.
Earned the win in his Nationals debut on April 2 vs. Atlanta…Allowed one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts and four walks…With the win, Gore became the seventh Nationals pitcher (2005-pres.) to win his debut with the team while allowing three hits or less in at least 5.0 innings of work.

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