Colorado Rockies: 3 things to know about the San Diego Padres entering their four-game series

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 16: Colorado Rockies fans hold a sign referring to "Rocktober", or a Rockies playoff run, during a game between the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 16, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 16: Colorado Rockies fans hold a sign referring to "Rocktober", or a Rockies playoff run, during a game between the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on September 16, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Rockies will be facing the San Diego Padres for the first time since they opened their home slate against them nearly a month ago.

The Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres will be facing each other for the first time in nearly a month (or about 40 percent of the 2020 slate) when they face each other at Coors Field for a four-game, wrap-around series ending Monday night.

Much has changed for both teams since then so let’s get to know the Padres a little bit better.

They have a good offense for the first time in a very long time

Entering play Friday, the Padres are 2nd in the National League in slugging percentage and 5th in on-base percentage. Those rankings may have surprised you entering the season considering how dismal their offense has been for nearly a quarter of a century.

The last time the Padres had an offense that ranked in the top five in the NL in two of the triple slash numbers (batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage), the Padres starting lineups graced the names of Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson, Steve Finley, Greg Vaughn, Ken Caminiti, and Wally Joyner (1997).

The last time a Padres offense ranked in the top five in one of those categories, it was 2005, when current Rockies manager Bud Black was still two years away from managing them.

For their average runs per game and home runs per game, they are on pace to shatter their all-time season averages.

They are averaging 5.42 runs per game this year and their previous team record was set in 1997 when they averaged 4.91 runs per game. They are also averaging 1.81 home runs per game, which is way higher than the 1.35 they averaged in 2019, which was their highest season in franchise history.

The Padres have six players with an OPS+ of 130 or better and 80 or more plate appearances. Three of those players have an OPS better than 1.000.

There’s also a reason why the team has been coined the “Slam” Diego Padres: they have hit five grand slams this year, all coming within six games (the last one being last Saturday).

Also, don’t be surprised if they get a 3-0 and runners on and they swing. Fernando Tatis, Jr. has done that a few times this year, even though his manager wasn’t thrilled about one instance in particular.

Their bullpen has been their weakest area

They have a team ERA of 4.47, which is 16th in baseball (the Rockies are 18th at 4.63, by comparison). The Padres relievers have made their team ERA much higher, though, as their ERA is a full run higher, at 5.47.

Their best reliever and closer, former Rockie Drew Pomeranz, is on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder strain on his throwing shoulder. They have been turning to Emilio Pagan for save situations but he has an ERA north of 6.

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They may be even more strapped for pitching in the series

The Padres had a doubleheader on Thursday against Seattle and used two of their best starting pitchers.

They only have officially announced Friday’s starter, as of Thursday night, and that’s Zach Davies.

Davies, 27, is in his first season with San Diego after he spent his first five seasons in the majors with the Brewers. This year, he is 4-2 with an ERA of 3.03 in six starts (35 2/3 innings pitched). He has nearly a 4.5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and he has a phenomenal WHIP of 0.841 and FIP of 3.10.

If the Padres stay with the starters that they had after Davies, the Rockies will face Adrian Morejon and Chris Paddack on Saturday and Sunday.

Morejon, a 21-year-old lefty, has only made two starts for the Padres this year, after he made his debut with the team last year in five appearances (two starts). In the 12 2/3 IP, he has pitched to a 8.53 ERA (5.79 ERA in the two starts in 2020).

Paddack, 24, pitched well for the Padres in his rookie campaign in 2019, as he went 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA and a nearly 5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 26 starts. However, in seven starts in 2020, he has struggled as he has pitched to a 5.15 ERA (5.50 FIP). He has allowed an NL-leading 10 home runs.

Monday’s starter is really up in the air since the Padres will either have to use someone from their bullpen, call up someone, or start one of Dinelson Lamet or Garrett Richards on three days rest (both started on Thursday in the team’s doubleheader). The latter is very unlikely, so one of the former two will likely happen.

The Rockies will likely send Kyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela, Ryan Castellani, and German Marquez to start, in that order. All four games will start at different times, as they will start at 6:40 p.m., 6:10 p.m., 1:10 p.m., and 7:40 p.m. (all Mountain Time).

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The Padres enter the series two games ahead of the Rockies for second-place in the NL West so it will be a critical series for both teams, especially heading into the trade deadline, which is on Monday.