Game Times and Probable Pitchers
Great American Ball Park
Thursday, June 23, 2016, 7:10 ET: LHP Christian Friedrich vs. LHP John Lamb
Friday, June 24, 2016, 7:10 ET: RHP Colin Rea vs. LHP Cody Reed
Saturday, June 25, 2016, 4:10 ET: LHP Drew Pomeranz vs. LHP Brandon Finnegan
Sunday, June 26, 2016, 1:10 ET: RHP Luis Perdomo vs. RHP Anthony DeSclafani
San Diego will send Christian Friedrich to the mound in game one against Cincinnati. Friedrich spent the past three seasons in Colorado bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen. The Padres signed him as a free agent this offseason, and he's been one of their better starting pitchers. In seven starts he's 3-2 with a 3.15 ERA. Command has been one of Friedrich's biggest struggles, and he's currently walking 4.7 hitters per nine. According to Brooks Baseball he generates "an extreme number of ground balls." His fastball sits in the low 90's and he mixes in a sinker and curveball.
Colin Rea was drafted by the Padres in 2011, and he made his MLB debut last season. This season he's started thirteen games for San Diego. Unfortunately for them, Rea has been one of their worst starters (78 ERA+). Like Friedrich, Rea has also struggled with command (3.64 BB/9). On the mound he also uses a sinker to induce ground balls. In his last start he gave up one earned run over 6.1 innings against the Giants. Prior to that, he had given up at least three runs in six straight starts.
In a season of disappointments, Drew Pomeranz has been a bright spot for San Diego. The Padres acquired Pomeranz in a trade with Oakland this past December. Last season Pomeranz primarily pitched out of the bullpen for the A's. Part of this was due to a shoulder injury he suffered early in the season. So far he's been San Diego's best starter (130 ERA+) with a 3.00 ERA and 3.44 FIP. He's striking out 10.7 per nine, but walking 4.2 BB/9 (as a team they walk the second most hitters in baseball).
Luis Perdomo is in his first season of big league action. He started the year in the bullpen, but has had to move in to the rotation due to injuries (Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are both on the DL). As a starter he has an 8.83 ERA (which is actually better than his 9.10 ERA as a reliever). His ERA+ is 43, and he's give up at least six runs in three of his last five starts. The Reds should feel pretty good about this matchup.
CF Jon Jay (Travis Jankowski if Jay is out)
1B Wil Myers
RF Matt Kemp
3B Yangervis Solarte
LF Melvin Upton Jr.
2B Ryan Schimpf
C Derek Norris
SS Alexi Ramirez
Myers has definitely been the most productive hitter in San Diego's lineup this season. He was acquired by the Padres from the Rays in a 2014 trade. This season he's hitting .286/.331/.521 with 16 HR and 45 RBI. If San Diego hangs on to Myers he will likely become a fixture in the middle of their order.
Recently Jon Jay has started to garner some praise for his play this season. He's sat out the past few games with a forearm bruise, but when he's in the lineup he's one of San Diego's most productive hitters. Many Reds fans remember Jay as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was traded this past offseason in a deal that returned Jedd Gyorko. Currently he's hitting .296/.345/.407.
Matt Kemp hasn't quite been the hitter he was in Los Angeles, but he's been better than average this season (106 OPS+...at 21.5 million). His OBP is at a career low (.284), but he's offset that by already hitting 15 HR. He's fared much better against left handed pitchers over the course of his career, and he'll get to face three lefty Reds starters in this series.
The rest of San Diego's lineup has been a mixed bag. Melvin Upton is having one of his better recent runs. He's been particularly effective on the base paths with 15 steals. Yangervis Solarte is having his best season at the plate, but he's been struggling with a thumb injury recently. Ryan Schimpf just took over at second due to an injury to Cory Spanenberg. Derek Norris is in the midst of a down season at the plate (78 OPS+). Alexi Ramirez is having the worst offensive season of his career (.250/.284/.332).
At age thirty nine, Fernando Rodney is having an absurd season. Yep, he's currently sporting a 1164 ERA+. That's what happens when you have a 0.34 ERA over 26.2 IP. So far Rodney has only given up one run this entire season. It would probably be in the Reds best interest not to let San Diego have a late game lead.
Ryan Buchter is also having a nice season out of the pen. In 31.2 IP he's got a 1.71 ERA, and he's striking out 13.1 per nine. Kevin Quackenbush and Brad Hand have been serviceable. Brandon Maurer is really the only Padres reliever who's been a liability (30+ innings).
As a unit they have the 24th ranked ERA in the league (4.41). They're 11th in SO/9 (9.03) and 7th in BB/9 (3.93).
San Diego hasn't won many games this season, but there are still quality pieces on this roster. The Reds will have at least a couple of pitching match-ups that should favor them. If they can get on the board early, and keep the middle of San Diego's lineup at bay, there's no reason they can't win this series.