Phillies vs. Padres Series Preview – A Key September Matchup of Third Place Teams


Aug 26, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley (7) hits a single during the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Now that’s more like it!  Thanks to some strong performances by the starting pitchers, the Phillies took it to the first place Braves, sending them reeling from the city with a three-game sweep.  Now, the Phillies look to continue the good times as the San Diego Padres come to town.

What’s the Deal with the Padres

Sep 4, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Will Venable (25) scores on a passed ball during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

At 65-77, the Padres have a near identical record to the Phillies.  That must mean that the teams are evenly matched.  And when teams are evenly matched, that means we get exciting baseball, right?

The Phillies pitchers could be in line for another strong series as the Padres are quite unimposing offensively.  Their top offensive threat is outfielder Will Venable.  There’s a basic rule of thumb in baseball that says that if you want to succeed, Will Venable shouldn’t be your best offensive player.

The last Time They Met

The Phillies took two out of three games in San Diego, including two games that went into extra innings.  The final game was won in the 13th inning when Padres’ second baseman Logan Forsythe made an error allowing two runs to score.  Since this was a 13 inning game being played on the West Coast, most Phillies fans were unable to see the exciting ending.  Either that, or they were very tired the next day.

Fortunately, with these games being played in Philadelphia, fans should be able to see the conclusion and still wake up well rested.  Unless the game goes into the 18th inning.  That type of game tends to finish late no matter what coast it is played on.

Reason to Hate the Padres

Honestly, how could anyone hate the Padres?  They’re from San Diego, and if you don’t like San Diego, then there’s just no pleasing you.  The franchise’s all-time greatest player is Tony Gwynn, and he’s about as loveable a guy as there ever has been in baseball.

My only quibble with the franchise is that I am unhappy that they changed their uniforms away from the blue and orange ones they had in the 90’s.  I really liked those uniforms.

June 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Former San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn waives during a pre game ceremony to honor the members of the 1998 National League Championship team before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Player of Interest

Remember when people wanted the Phillies to trade for Padres’ third baseman Chase Headley?  That was back when Cody Asche was still just a decent prospect at AA, and pretty much nobody had ever heard of Maikel Franco.  These days, it would seem ridiculous for the Phillies to trade for a third baseman.

The Padres probably wish that they had traded him.  In 2012, Headley had what seems like a career year.  He hit 31 home runs (His previous career high was 12) and finished fifth in the National League MVP voting.  He hasn’t been particularly bad this season – his numbers are more in line with his typical pre-2012 performance – but they had a chance to sell high on him.

Key Phillies Storyline

Roy Halladay will make his fourth start since returning from the disabled list.  He had one promising start, one bad start, and one start that most people weren’t sure what to make of it.  Was he just working out some issues and re-learning how to pitch post-surgery?  Or has he completely lost whatever it was that made him a great pitcher.

Tweet of Interest

It’s doubtful that Rupp factors into the team’s plans next year, but with a strong showing he might change some opinions.

Final Take

These games aren’t exactly part of a blood rivalry, nor will they affect the postseason in any way.  But it will be interesting to see if the Phillies can continue their good play from the Braves series.