Guess who is back. Back again? The “Slam Diego Padres” are back! The 2021 San Diego Padres start off their 162 game conquest with a four-game series at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
2021 San Diego Padres Opening Series
Hey, Diamondbacks, Yu will have a bad time in Game 1
No questions about who will be starting the first game of the season for San Diego, as it will undoubtedly be newly acquired ace Yu Darvish. The Diamondbacks bats do not stack up well against the seasoned right-hander, as the team’s bats hit .259 off Darvish.
For the Diamondbacks, their opening starter will be veteran southpaw Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner is coming off a pretty lackluster injury-shortened 2020 season, so expect MadBum to come for redemption early.
The San Diego Padres, as a team, have not been successful against Bumgarner, but superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. is a career 6-11 with two home runs off of him. Manny Machado also sees Bumgarner okay, batting a career .250 off him with three long balls. Expect the stars to shine early and often for the Padres in what should be an opening day victory!
Snellzilla vs. King Kelly in Game 2
Another newly acquired ace toes the rubber for the Friars in game two for the 2021 San Diego Padres. Blake Snell gets a chance to start his 2021 campaign off strong facing off a team who’s players hit a combined 2-25 off the southpaw. Expect dominance out of ‘Snellzilla’ in this one.
The D’Backs are slated to start third-year 32 year old Merrill Kelly. Kelly was 3-2 with an ERA of 2.59 last season in his five starts, and looking to build on that with another strong season.
Tatis Jr. sees all the Diamondback pitchers well. A career .303 hitter with eight home runs, when he sees the maroon and teal line up against him, the ball looks as if it is a beach ball. Nothing changes here as the standout shortstop is 5-11 with three longballs off Kelly. Safe to assume the 2021 San Diego Padres campaign is going to start off strong for Tatis.
Another New Arm in Game 3
Former Pittsburgh Pirate Joe Musgrove will take the mound in game three. Musgrove’s 2020 season did not have the record he hoped for, but everything else proved he can be an elite-level middle of the rotation arm for a contending team. A 3.86 ERA and a batting average against of .226 makes a great depth option for the Friars.
Looking at his numbers versus Arizona, the players of the D’Backs combined to hit .157 with 15 punch-outs in 57 at-bats. Expect the newly acquired arm in Slam Diego to show out in his debut.
Expecting to do the pitching against the Padres in game three is Caleb Smith, a deadline acquisition from Miami last season. In 14 innings of work, Smith had an ERA of 2.57 and a batting average of .125 against him. The match-up of Musgrove and Smith could make up for a pitching duel in the third game of this four game set.
Can Cowboy Chris Paddack Close Out a Sweep in the Opening Series for the 2021 San Diego Padres?
With injuries to Dinelson Lamet, it seems that Paddack will be toeing the rubber in game four. In what was a bit of a sophomore slump for the hard throwing right hander, Paddack was 4-5 with an ERA north of 4.50 in close to 60 innings of work.
In his career, Paddack has gotten the better of the Diamondbacks line-up. Of the batters that have at least nine at-bats against the game four probable starter, only Ketel Marte hits over .250 against him.
The Diamondback’s game four starter is still up in the air, but it is rumored that rookie Taylor Widener will be taking the bump. Widener saw twelve games of action last season, but never started, so it will be a first for the 26-year-old right hander.
Predictions for Opening Weekend Standouts
Clearly Fernando Tatis Jr. will be instrumental to the 2021 San Diego Padres success, but in the first series of the season do not be surprised to see him get going early. I mentioned career success against Arizona, but the young shortstop has come out of the gates hot in spring training, hitting .387 with three home runs. It is the safe pick, but Tatis Jr. will be the MVP of the opening weekend not only for the Padres, but for the MLB.
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