Series Preview: San Diego Padres

As bad as the San Diego Padres have been this season - 26-54 - the one thing the team can hold its head high about is the fact that it has beaten baseball's best team, the Seattle Mariners, two out of three times. The Mariners (51-26) will try to prevent it from happening again when they welcome the Padres into Safeco Field for a three-game set starting Friday.

Safeco Field, Seattle, WA

Seattle (51-26, 23-15 home) 1st place: AL West
San Diego (26-54, 11-27 away) 5th place: NL West

Friday, June 27, 7:05 p.m. UPN11
Seattle: Joel Pineiro (R) (7-5, 3.77 ERA)
San Diego: Adam Eaton (R) (2-6, 4.46)

Saturday, June 28, 7:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Ryan Franklin (R) (6-5, 3.18)
San Diego: Jake Peavy (R) (7-5, 4.15)

Sunday, June 29, 1:05 p.m. FSN
Seattle: Freddy Garcia (R) (9-6, 4.28)
San Diego: Kevin Jarvis (R) (0-2, 6.19)

News & Notes
This will mark the second time that the so-called interleague rivals will meet this season. The Mariners are hoping for better results than what happened last week when they let the worst team in the NL take two out of three. If you were looking for the best pitching match-up your best bet would probably come on Saturday. Ryan Franklin will go against Jake Peavy, who is the only Padres starter with an above .500 record. Franklin and Peavy are very even with Peavy having one more win, yet Franklin has a better ERA. Both have an equal amount of losses at five.

WHO'S HOT?

Seattle:
The M's still hold the game's best record even though they are only 3-3 over their past six games. During that rough stretch, Ichiro has still maintained the league's third best average of .350 and is currently tied for first in hits with Albert Pujols of St. Louis. Both have 112. Bret Boone has quietly crept his way into a tie for fourth place in the majors with 22 long balls. Ryan Franklin is coming off a start in which he only gave up one run in six innings. Although he lost that game, he hopes to repeat that performance against Peavy on Saturday. Hasegawa was getting Shiggy with it over the past week, pitching four innings of scoreless baseball.

San Diego:
Things aren't going real well for "The Fathers," with only one player hitting over .300 in the last seven days. But they did do something other teams haven't been able to do in a while; win a series against the Mariners. That and young Xavier Nady are about the only thing this team has to build on as of now. Nady, the team's promising 24-year-old outfielder, is batting .272 with 7 HR and 28 RBI.

WHO'S NOT?

Seattle:
All of the starting pitcher due to head to the mound in this series are coming off of wins except Franklin, yet Franklin had an impressive performance. The only weak pitching performances of late have been out of the bullpen. Jeff Nelson hasn't fared very well in the closing role since Sasaki's injury. He recently gave up five runs in one outing, which forced his ERA to balloon. New Mariner Matt White, a left-hander acquired at the beginning of the month from Boston, has yet to have an impressive outing. In three outings with Seattle (3 innings), White has given up three earned runs and two home runs. Randy Winn had a bit of a slow week at the plate, hitting only .120.

San Diego:
One of the primary reasons for the Padres' woes in 2003? The young pitching staff. San Diego has only one starter with a winning record in Peavy, and even he is only two games over at 7-5. Their bullpen is even worse, made up mostly of washed up journeymen and other who just never lived up to their potential. Included are the following: Charles Nagy, once the ace in Cleveland during the Tribe's glory years in the mid-to-late 1990's. Jaret Wright, a 27-year-old who started game 7 of the 1997 World Series at the age of 21. Rod Beck, who was once the top closer in the Major Leagues, but most recently got publicity for living in an RV while playing for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs. Not to be outdone is 46-year-old Jesse Orosco, who's pitching in his fourth decade and enters the series with an 8.57 ERA. To make matters worse for the lowly Padres, two of their most marketable players – 3B Phil Nevin and closer Trevor Hoffman - are probably out for the season.


Richie Stone is the brain behind the series previews at InsidethePark.com. Let him know what you think at richietstone@aol.com.


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