Opposite dugout: Padres progressing through their rebuild

Manager: Andy Green

PadresLogo.jpgRecord: 54-66

Last 10 games: 5-5

Who to watch: 1B Wil Myers (24 HR, 59 RBIs), LF Jose Pirela (.293/.344/.520), 2B Yangervis Solarte (.271/.347/.426), LHP Brad Hand (2.19 ERA, 10 saves)

Season series vs. Nationals: 1-2

Pitching probables:

Aug. 17: RHP Edwin Jackson vs. RHP Jhoulys Chacin, 10:10 p.m., MASN
Aug. 18: RHP Max Scherzer vs. RHP Luis Perdomo, 10:10 p.m., MASN2
Aug. 19: TBA vs. LHP Travis Wood, 8:40 p.m., MASN2
Aug. 20: LHP Gio Gonzalez vs. TBA, 4:40 p.m., MASN2

Inside the Padres:

Entering the 2015 season, the Padres decided to make a strong effort to contend. They acquired Justin Upton and Matt Kemp to sure up their outfield and added one of the best closers in baseball, Craig Kimbrel. That plan did not work, as San Diego was 74-88 in 2015. In fact, Upton, Kemp and Kimbrel are all now on new teams. Now with a top 10 farm system and a team filled with youth, San Diego is in rebuild mode.

The Padres offense as a whole is pretty dreadful. They ranked last in the National League for both batting average and on-base percentage. They are slightly better at hitting for power, ranking 12th in slugging percentage. The biggest bright spot in the San Diego offense is left fielder Jose Pirela. After recording just 144 plate appearances in his first three seasons, Pirela has finally been given consistent playing time and he has made the most of it, with a .520 slugging percentage this year. At first base, Wil Myers provides decent power, but also a ton of strikeouts. He leads the Padres with 24 home runs, but he also leads the NL in strikeouts with 142. Myers' batting average and on-base percentage have both gotten worse from 2016 while there has been virtually no change to his slugging percentage (.461 in 2016, .463 in 2017.) Utility infielder Yangervis Solarte has provided San Diego with both versatility and plate discipline. Solarte has played at least 20 innings at every position in the infield for the Padres this season and also leads the team in on-base percentage. While the Padres struggle to hit, they are doing alright when it comes to stolen bases, as their 65 as a team ranks fifth in the NL.

Thursday's pitcher, Jhoulys Chacin, has enjoyed two good starts and one poor one in August. Against the Dodgers and Twins, he combined for 12 innings and one earned run, but he also had a rough outing in Cincinnati, allowing five earned runs in six innings. Chacin has improved both his ERA and WHIP from last season. On Friday, it will be 24-year-old Luis Perdomo, who is in his second season in the big leagues. Perdomo has cut down on his ERA from last year, but his 4.95 mark still is not exactly a good recipe for a long career in baseball. His August ERA is 6.00, so it is fair to say he has not been enjoying pitching this month. Saturday's starter was a member of the Cubs' 2016 World Series-winning squad: Travis Wood. Wood provided one of the playoffs' more notable moments when he hit a home run as a reliever in Game 2 of the NLDS. Now the left-handed pitcher finds himself in a starting role on a team admittedly worse than the 2016 Cubs. Wood was traded from the Royals to Padres this season and his four starts in San Diego have produced a 5.57 ERA. Wood almost poses more of a threat to the Nationals as a hitter, as his nine regular season homers since 2010 trail only Madison Bumgarner for pitchers. For Sunday, San Diego's starter is unknown.

The Padres heavily considered trading closer Brad Hand, but could not get a package they were happy with. Hand has a 2.19 ERA to accompany a 0.941 WHIP. His WHIP ranks fifth out of all qualified relievers in the NL. Hand is 10-for-14 on saves, having replaced Brandon Maurer as the closer after Maurer was traded to Kansas City. Kirby Yates has been inhaling holds for San Diego, recording 13 of them.

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