Game Three: Rodriguez (Career vs. SDP: 0-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.79 WHIP) vs. Margevicius (Spring Training: 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 0.86 WHIP)
After a hell of a rookie year, Dereck Rodriguez will take over at the #3 spot in the rotation. He will be one of two right-handed starters for the foreseeable future and looks to build on last season. Rodriguez will have a good starting block with the Padres. In his last start at Petco Park, he went seven strong, giving up only one run on three hits. There is not much history against the Padres, but that should bode well for him.
Although it hasn’t been officially announced, Nick Margevicius will get the nod for Saturday. This will be his first MLB start, after only two years in the minors. The seventh-round draft pick features a precision fastball that varies between 88-93 MPH, a curveball which is effective against righties and a changeup. He has apparently been one of the best starters in the minor league system, and for a team that is desperate for good starters, he fits that mold. The rookie lefty might present a challenge to the Giants, who seem to always have issues against the Padres young arms.
Game Four: Samardzija (Career vs. SDP: 4-2, 2.68 ERA, 0.89 WHIP) vs. Paddack (Spring Training: 2-1, 2.13 ERA, 1.18 ERA)
Returning from an injury-ridden season, Jeff Samardzija will be given the nod for the last game of the series. The right-handed innings eater is definitely familiar with the Padres, and lest we forget he threw a complete game shutout in his last start at Petco Park. He only saw the Padres once last season and that was at home. Machado can give Samardzija a run for his money, as he is a career 5-for-8 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI. This will be a good challenge for Samardzija to see where he is at health-wise and where his arm is at. The Giants need guys to go deep into games, and Samardzija is certainly a good candidate for that.
Rookie right-hander Chris Paddack will also be making his major league debut against the Giants this weekend. With that being said, he has no real splits against any Giants players, especially since he has been called up so quickly through the minors. Paddack was drafted by the Marlins in 2015 and traded to the Padres in 2016 for Fernando Rodney. According to scouting reports, Paddack has a good fastball which averages low 90s (tops out at 95-96) and a devastating changeup with good movement. He also has a curveball which is a work in progress. Again, given how the Giants are against rookie Padre starters, this might be a bit of a challenge for them.
Turning off the Friars
The Giants did alright at Petco Park last season, finishing with a 5-4 record. This was after a rocky four-game series where they only won one of those games. Needless to say, not much has changed for the Giants since last year, except a couple of outfield spots. Last season the Giants started with a four-game series against the Dodgers, and took two out of two. The Padres aren’t on the same level as the Dodgers, but they do have some newer faces on the squad that might present issues for the Giants pitching.
The biggest shortfall last year was hitting with runners in scoring position. The Giants are going to need to figure out a way to solve that. Combine that with good pitching, and they have a pretty good chance at taking three out of four in the series. Still, I expect the Giants to leave San Diego with a split before they head to Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers for a three-game set.