San Diego Padres vs. Colorado Rockies: Series Preview

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Apr 15, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Justin Upton (right) is congratulated by right fielder Matt Kemp (42) after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. The Padres beat the Diamondbacks 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies come home for four games against the new-look San Diego Padres Monday through Thursday. Let’s meet the Padres and see if the Rockies can win a home series for the first time this summer.

The San Diego Padres make their first trip to Coors Field to face the Colorado Rockies with a brand new offense in tow, and a strong starting rotation.

The Rockies are going to see the toughest arms the Padres have to offer between James Shields and Tyson Ross, and it’ll be on the Rockies’ hot bats to beat some of the best in the NL West.

DATES, TIMES, AND PITCHERS

Monday, April 20, 6:40 pm
Jorge De La Rosa (0-0, -.–) vs. Odrisamer Despaigne (1-0, 0.77)

Tuesday, April 21, 6:40 pm
Tyler Matzek (1-0, 1.80) vs. Brandon Morrow (0-0, 1.29)

Wednesday, April 22, 6:40 pm
Kyle Kendrick (1-2, 7.56) vs. James Shields (2-0, 2.84)

Thursday, April 23, 1:10 pm
Jordan Lyles (1-1, 3.50) vs. Tyson Ross (1-0, 4.08)

KEYS FOR THE ROCKIES

More from Colorado Rockies News

Hip, hip, Jorge!

Jorge De La Rosa returns for Monday’s game against the Padres and Odrisamer Despaigne, and it can’t come soon enough. The Rockies need De La Rosa to be healthy from here on out and be his usual home-cookin’ self to help the rotation and in turn, the bullpen.

If JDLR can get off on the right foot against the Padres lineup, and stay healthy enough, he’s got time to make 30-ish starts this summer. That’d be huge for the Rockies.

Home cookin’

Speaking of home cookin’, it doesn’t just matter to De La Rosa. The Rockies as a team have almost always played significantly better at home than on the road. And considering their recent road success… that means they should sweep the Padres this week, right?

It doesn’t always work like that, unfortunately. But the Rockies could stand to hedge their bets and, you know, win some home games, because road dominance for an entire season will probably elude them.

Taking three of four from the Padres (and then maybe at least two of three from the Giants this weekend?!) would be huge, to put it mildly. If the Rockies head to Arizona having gone 5-2 on the seven-game homestand, you should justifiably feel very good about it.

KEY NUMBER

22

THAT’S WALT WEISS’ NUMBER!!

Yeah, but seriously, Weiss is a guy we haven’t talked much about thus far, and yet he deserves quite a bit of credit. Kudos to general manager Jeff Bridich for, you know, letting Weiss make his own damn decisions (something Bridich’s predecessor didn’t always do), but also credit to Weiss for thinking outside the box, making quick changes, and putting the best team on the field to win in April.

Now, the fun begins. The Rockies are in the middle of a big streak of games against NL West opponents, they are only going to see four off days from here until the end of May, and things are going to get tough at some point. That’s baseball!

Let’s see how Weiss manages his starters, uses his bullpen, feels out match-ups, employs things like defensive shifts, and, hell, even if he keeps hitting the starting pitcher in the eighth spot of the order!

It’s easy to manage the first couple weeks of the season, because everybody is healthy and you have your pick of players and situations thanks to fresh legs and light schedules. Now, as the grind starts to take hold, how will Weiss respond? He can’t run Adam Ottavino out there every day, and he has to manage Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, and Justin Morneau wisely to prevent injury. The Padres series – followed by three with the Giants and three in Arizona – will start to show us which Walt Weiss showed up this year.

LET’S MEET THE PADRES

Special thanks to Andrew Beccarelli (that’s a great Italian name, btw) over at Friars On Base for the insight into the San Diego Padres, and for his patience with my silly questions. You can – and should – follow them on Twitter @FriarsOnBase.

The offseason. Peller. Um. Wow. Simply put, are the Padres contenders for the NL West title as the roster stands today?

Yeah, it was an amazing off-season for us Padres fans for so many reasons. I think the new roster can definitely compete for the NL West, but I do still think the Dodgers will end up with it. I do expect that the Padres team (as it is now) finally have a winning season & contend for one of the Wild Card spots.

What are you first impressions of the new team? Ten games into a very new roster, have the Padres done what you’ve expected thus far or are there areas that immediately concern you?

While it’s still a small sample size, I would say that the new Padres team has lived up to expectations so far. The offense is greatly improved and pitching has been pretty good. There are always concerns, but right now I mostly worry about Jedd Gyorko’s bat and relief pitcher Shawn Kelley. Both are off to pretty poor starts.

The pitching speaks for itself and this winter’s moves will undoubtedly improve the offense, but is the defense still a concern? Obviously, the weak link for the Padres seems to be somewhere in the infield – can Middlebrooks, Amarista, Barmes (?!), Gyorko, Alonso and assorted others do enough in the field and at the plate this summer to be just good enough?

I think defensively, I’d actually be more worried about the outfield than the infield. Not that they’re elite or anything, but I’m not worried if the ball get hits their way. Offense is the concern with the infield, you’re right. Middlebrooks as done well enough so far and Alonso is having one of his better starts to the season. The biggest concern has been Gyorko’s lousy start at the plate. Solarte is looking like a much better option, but he has history of being streaky.

Justin Upton looks like an MVP candidate through the first ten games (10-game hitting streak!) compared to his history. He probably won’t hit over .350 all year, but, is this is an MVP-type campaign we should be aware of, or just a hot streak to start the summer?

I was so happy to land Upton. I expect him to be the MVP of the team and lead us in all offensive categories this year; with the exception of stolen bases probably. I think there are other players in the NL that will get consideration over Upton, but I think his name will come up every now and then in the MVP discussion. So much of it will depend on why type of season the Padres end up having.

Let’s talk Clint Barmes. He’s about your 19th most impactful offseason signing, but he’s a former Rockie, so, we follow him. What can he bring to San Diego this summer, and what do you expect of him with the Padres?

I remember when the Padres signed him early in the offseason, I just shook my head like, “Really, this is the guy, Preller?”. Little did I know what coming haha…with Barmes, we’re really just looking to him for his defensive skills as a backup shortstop. Obviously, we don’t expect much from him offensively. Just like Amarista, he’ll probably be batting eighth just ahead of the pitcher…Plus, there were all the rumors about Preller looking to make a trade for a SS last week, so who knows how long he’ll be around.

In the four game series, it looks like the Rockies will see Odrisamer Despaigne, Brandon Morrow, James Shields and Tyson Ross. How do you expect Shields (and all of them) to fare against the Rockies lineup, and at altitude, and which one (or two) is most susceptible to getting lit up in Coors Field?

Probably Shields or Morrow because they’ve played fewer games there than Despaigne and Ross. I still worry about Morrow, he didn’t have a great Spring, but has looked really good in his two starts this season. So, I’m still now sure what to make of him, but I hope his success continues.

Had Craig Kimbrel not joined the Friars, Rockies fans (subjectively) believe Adam Ottavino would’ve been the best closer in the NL West. Some fans probably still think that even with Kimbrel in the division. If you had to get one batter out right now, in a one-run game with the bases loaded, do you take Kimbrel’s fastball, or Ottavino’s slider? (Remember: Ottavino’s slider is so filthy it has its own Twitter account.)

Ooh, great question. I would probably still take Kimbrel’s fastball even if he was still a Brave, but I agree, Ottavino’s slider is NASTY. I’m a fan of it…and not a fan of facing it.

Now for some fun stuff: are you still mad about October 1, 2007?

You mean, do I think Holliday was safe? Nope. That was such an amazing baseball game, even if it was my team falling short (and blowing the save), I think any baseball fan could take a step back and appreciate how exciting it was. At least Rockies fans know how it feels to get swept in the World Series too…I think those two World Series losses and that disastrous September 2010 collapse still sting the most for Padres fans.

You guys gave out fedoras to, like, 300,000 people on Opening Day. How can you possibly live with yourselves?! The worst we’ve ever done is botch a superstar’s name.

Haha, not nearly as bad as getting Tulo’s name wrong. Eh, I don’t mind, they’ve done those the last couple season. It’s the trendy thing right now (I think the Angel’s did it first?). In the past it’s been visors and after that floppy hats, fedora’s just the new thing. I think next year they should do Fezzes, Fezzes are cool.

Final question. We took a (very informal) Twitter poll during a Rockies game about which NL West team was most-hated by Rox fans. The Giants received more than 30 votes, the Dodgers got about ten, the Diamondbacks received two or three, and literally no one voted for the Padres. In fact, people who ranked the NL West from most- to least-hated unanimously put the Padres as the least-hated club. One girl tweeted us a ranking of individual players she hated on the Dodgers and Giants more than the collective Padres team. Why are you guys so likable? And how do Padres fans feel about the Rockies? And – MOST IMPORTANTLY – if you guys pitch so well, and we hit so well, and neither club’s fan base hates each other, do you think we could form a 25-man SuperTeam to defeat the Giants and Dodgers? We could call them the Colodiego Rockdres. Or the San Dirado Padkies. Or… well… not those names. But would you be interested?

What is it they say about “Loveable Losers”? I think if the Padres were so likeable our market would be larger haha. I don’t think it’s a case of the Padres are more likable, there just hasn’t been a lot to hate on us about in recent seasons, hopefully we’ll change that soon.

As for the Rockies and their fans? Well, while we certainly don’t wish each other luck (especially at our teams expense) I’m sure you’d agree nothing comes close to our hatred for Dodgers and Giants (especially Dodgers). I kind of think of it like the AL East, where the Dodgers and Giants are the Yankees and Red Sox of the NL West. They get the most media coverage, spend more money, they’ve got the more stories history, and everyone else in division thinks those are their rivals. I don’t think Rays fans are at home going, “Those damn, Orioles!”, just like Pads fans don’t hate on Rockies too much.

I like San Colego Rodres. Shoot, if we had LeMahieu and Tulo we’d probably be undefeated right now. Let’s get Arizona on this too and bring Goldschmidt in at first!

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