FriarBall: To be the best you've got to beat the best

Friday, June 22, 2007

To be the best you've got to beat the best

Ok, so this whole interleague thing has been a disaster for the Padres - but even after dropping 2 of 3 to Baltimore, SD still boasts the best record in the NL. But that being said, the team with the best record in baseball comes to town in the form of the Boston Red Sox - and they are rolling the Dice-K tonight (ok, enough bad jokes about Japanese pitchers).

Where Boston excels (offense), the Padres have struggled. And any attempt to prove that the Padres have what it takes to match up with the power houses from the AL East is going to have to start with offense.

Greg Maddux is on the mound tonight and one place he likes to pitch is Petco. In his 6 starts at home this season, Maddux is 5-1 with a 2.75 ERA, 1 complete game and 20 K's. Maddux will need his best stuff tonight if he is going to keep David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez in check, although the cavernous confines of Petco should help. And if the Red Sox want Ortiz to be in the lineup, he will have to play 1B also, meaning hot hitting Kevin Youkilis will either have to play elsewhere or pinch hit - another plus for the Padres.

Dice-K, meanwhile, has been beatable on the road. In 7 road games this season he is 4-3 with a 3.48 ERA, 20 walks and 58 K's. We should expect to see a lot of swings and misses from the Padres tonight, but Dice-K is hardly the shutdown ace he is projected to become.

However, the Padres seem to struggle when the numbers are in their favor yet come out when the odds are stacked against them so anything can happen tonight. I have decided I will not be surprise win or loss. Hopefully, the numbers are stacked against and we can expect a win.

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