The Brewers continue their road trip with a three-game set on the West Coast against the San Diego Padres, who come in at 7-16. Ideally, this would be the time for the Brewers to catch fire and get over .500 with a sweep, but the Padres are not to be taken lightly. As per usual, to preview the series, I interviewed a Fansided writer for the opponent. This time, Domonic DiTolla (he’s on The Twitter @DominicDiTolla) of Chicken Friars previewed the upcoming series.
Reviewing the Brew: Looking at the probable starters for the series, what would be the one game definitely worth staying up late for (in Milwaukee)?
Chicken Friars: It has to be the Gallardo vs. Luebke matchup on Wednesday during the afternoon (3:35 PST) (well afternoon for us in the Pacific Time Zone). Luebke, 3-1 with a 2.61 ERA, has been pitching well since taking a Loss in his opening start against the Dodgers, and has emerged as San Diego’s “Ace” at this point in the regular season. If you are interested in watching any Padres pitcher this season, and do not follow the team at all, take some time to watch the young Lefty take the mound.
RtB: I drafted starting pitcher Cory Luebke in my fantasy league and he’s off to a great start. What’s been the key to his success and how will he handle Brewers hitters?
CF: Luebke has been doing a great job of getting ground ball outs and keeping his pitches low. Also his control has been terrific as he has only Walked 8 in his 5 starts on the season. While his Strike Out totals have not been especially high (23 in 31 Innings Pitched), he still gets the big outs, he pitches with good/decent velocity deep into games, he is the staff’s most consistent pitcher, and last week outdueled Roy Halladay at Petco in a 2-0 Shutout.
RtB: Does playing the series in Petco Park give the advantage to the Brewers or Padres?
CF: Petco obviously gives an advantage to the home team since they play in front of the home crowd. However, manufacturing runs is key in the spacious ball-park where dingers are scarce. Thus, the team which can manufacture runs will win the game. San Diego has been atrocious in 2-Out hitting/Men in Scoring Positions situations this season, and their shoddy record reflects said issues.
RtB: From a Padres standpoint, which Brewers player not named Ryan Braun scares you the most at the plate?
CF: Corey Hart would probably be the hitter which scares me the most. He’s leading the team in Home Runs (6), RBI (13), and extra-base hits (14). Plus he’s hitting at a .286 clip, which is nothing to scoff at either, plus he’s a good baserunner. If there is any hitter in the lineup not named Braun to make a mistake to, it’s Hart in my honest opinion.
RtB: Chase Headley leads the team with four homers and 14 RBI–has he been the most impressive Padre?
CF: Headley is sort of the best Padres position player by default, only because the rest of the starters have struggled so mightily at the plate this season. If you included the Pitching Staff it would be Luebke, but Headley has been the team’s most consistent hitter. He leads the team in Homers (4), Doubles (6), RBI’s, and Walks (19), but is only batting .253. His On-Base Percentage is high (.394), but because the team can’t hit with guys in scoring position, it is a somewhat moot stat. Props also must go to 4th Outfielder Chris Denorfia who has hit .302 with 1 Home Run, 4 Doubles, and is logging a .388 OBP in 43 At-Bats. Denorfia has always answered the bell when his number has been called during his career here, and is a fan favorite of many.
RtB: It’s been a rough start for San Diego. If they don’t pick it up soon, do you see them calling up any top prospects or trading away
CF: Well, our editor Justin did a piece on the team trading away injured Outfielder Carlos Quentin who has yet to play a game for them. Rumors are swirling that Orlando Hudson could be released also. As for prospects to call-up, two young starters in Tucson (Casey Kelly) and San Antonio (Robbie Erlin) could make their major league debuts this season and figure to be lynchpins of the rotation for a very long time.
RtB: The weakness of the Brewers has been a shaky bullpen thus far. Veras, Loe, Parra, and K-Rod have all been stagnant. Do you think the Padres can take advantage of this?
CF: It would be nice to see the Padres take advantage of Milwaukee’s shaky bullpen, but the bats are cold in San Diego for most of the hitters, and they have been since Opening Day. The team as a whole is ranked 29th in Batting Average (.213) and 27th in Slugging Percentage (.322). Who knows though? Maybe this is the series they decide to turn it around. At least, I hope they can.
RtB: Andy Parrino has more home runs than Albert Pujols. Thoughts?
CF: *Laughs*. Well played, sir. Well played. Can’t stand Pujols myself after the NLDS’s of ‘05 and ‘06, yet that’s another matter entirely. But still, it’s pretty incredible how much he has struggled at the plate, and the Angels have struggled as a whole.
RtB: Thanks for the time and Go Brewers!
CF: No worries. Glad I could be of service. Go Pads!
Monday- LHP Randy Wolf (1-2, 7.17 ERA) vs. RHP Joe Weiland (0-3, 4.76 ERA).
Tuesday- RHP Shaun Marcum (1-1, 4.13 ERA) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (0-2, 3.60 ERA)
Wednesday- RHP Yovani Gallardo (1-2, 6.08 ERA) vs. LHP Cory Luebke (3-1, 2.61 ERA)