San Diego Padres
The Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres both had high expectations coming into the 2022 Major League Baseball season.
So far, the Padres have delivered on those expectations, while the Phillies have yet to do so.
On Thursday, the Phillies and Padres open up a four-game series that will last until the end of the weekend, with the Padres aiming to keep rolling at home.
The road trip for the Philadelphia Phillies continues with the start of this four-game set against the San Diego Padres. Prior to going to San Diego, the Phillies played two games in Texas against the Rangers in interleague play and four road games against the Washington Nationals.
So far, the Phillies have performed well on their extended road trip, taking four straight against the Nationals, and they will look to continue building momentum against the Padres.
Philadelphia comes into this contest with Ranger Suarez set to get the start on the mound, which has been a bit of a mixed bag for them so far. Suarez is 5-4 on the season with a 4.43 ERA but is allowing over a hit per inning this season.
Against a lineup as potent as that of the Padres, he cannot afford to allow so many baserunners, as those baserunners can really add up to runs quickly against this National League West foe.
Offensively, it will be up to Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber to get things ignited against a spot starter in the place of Joe Musgrove.
Harper is batting .326 this season and is just below .400 in terms of his on-base percentage, and will have the luxury of avoiding a Cy Young contender here in all likelihood. In a game that could be high-scoring, Harper is going to need to reach base regularly to help the Phillies set up scoring opportunities.
So far this season, the San Diego Padres are neck and neck with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West race. They will have some adversity to overcome in this game, though, as their starting rotation has been thrown into flux.
With one of the frontrunners for the Cy Young award unavailable for the Padres in this game, it will be interesting to see how they approach this matchup from a pitching perspective.
Joe Musgrove is 8-0 on the season and has an ERA of 1.59 in what has been a surefire All-Star campaign. But he is just returning from the team’s COVID list and has been scratched from what was his scheduled start on Thursday.
Instead, it could be Mike Clevinger or another arm that is called upon to fill that spot in the rotation just until Musgrove has his feet back underneath him after rejoining the squad.
Without Musgrove, this game takes on a completely different tone for the Padres, as their offense can expect a heavier workload if they want to win.
With Musgrove being so stingy against opposing offenses this season, his absence means the Padres will likely need to score more in order to win. But with Manny Machado on pace for over 100 RBI this season, that may not be a huge ask for this Padres team.
Even without Musgrove on the hill for the Padres, there is still a lot to like about their chances against a road-weary Phillies team.
The fact that San Diego’s odds are slightly more palatable with Musgrove out only makes them a more appealing choice here.
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