The Giants will look to ride their unexpected power surge, while the Padres cope with a potentially season-changing loss as the NL West rivals jockey for position behind the Dodgers.
San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres
Tuesday, April 06, 2021 – 10:10 PM EDT at Petco Park
The San Francisco Giants entered the season as the consensus No. 3 team in the National League West, behind the World Champion Dodgers and the vastly improved Padres. Less than a week into the season, San Francisco has a chance to pull ahead of San Diego into second place. After dropping a season-opening series to Seattle, the Giants got back to .500 with a win in the series opener against the Padres.
The Giants aren’t getting the offense they expected, nor is it coming the way they expected it, but it’s still very early, and things are trending in the right direction for San Francisco. After four straight losing seasons, the Giants are at .500. The team has never had five straight losing seasons, and there is at least reason to hope the team can outperform expectations this season and finish with a winning record.
The Padres meanwhile, are reeling after losing two straight and suffering an even bigger loss than the final score—one that may derail San Diego’s promising season before it even gets out of the starting gate.
Balls Leaving the Yard
Major League Baseball made tweaks to the ball this season that supposedly deadened it and will cause well-hit fly balls to die on their way out of the park. The idea was to slow the sport’s flood of home runs and get back to putting balls in play and manufacturing runs.
The Giants don’t seem to have gotten the memo. San Francisco is still playing true outcomes baseball and relying on the longball in an all-or-nothing offense. Monday’s series opening win over the Padres is a good example. The Giants got three solo home runs, from Darin Ruf, Mike Yastrzemski and Evan Longoria, in a 3-2 win.
San Francisco is tied for the MLB lead with nine home runs in four games, and eight of them have been solo shots. The Giants have managed just six runs outside of the longball.
Evan Longoria is leading the early offensive attack. Monday’s homer was his third of the year, and he has a 1.345 OPS to start the year. Yaz’s blast helped break a season-opening 1-for-13 slump following a hit by pitch hand injury late in the spring. The Giants will start Aaron Sanchez on Tuesday. He’s a late offseason pickup who is recovering from shoulder surgery that kept him out all last year. He’ll be making his first start since August 2019.
Can’t Get No Tatis-Faction
Hearts leapt into throats across San Diego on Monday night when Fernando Tatis Jr. went down to injury. The budding superstar shortstop signed a 14-year, $340 million contract in February that will keep him in San Diego through his prime. And Tatis has shown every indication that his prime will be special, indeed.
He gave the team a brief scare in the spring when he left a game and missed two days due to shoulder soreness. The injury was written off as discomfort he’s had since his rookie ball days, but the fears came crashing back when he took a hard swing on Monday night and went down in pain. Tatis suffered a partially dislocated left shoulder on the swing and will undergo an MRI. The fear is that he’ll need season-ending surgery.
Even without Tatis, the Padres have plenty of offense for the short run, although their hopes of catching the Dodgers this year would take a major hit. Eric Hosmer has seven hits and si RBI through five games. Jake Cronenworth and Wil Myers have combined for five RBI to go with eight hits.
Last year’s NL Cy Young runner up Yu Darvish starts for San Diego. He had an off night in his first start of the season, giving up two home runs and four runs in 4.2 innings.
Darvish should bounce back against the all-or-nothing Giants offense and avoid the longball in a solid start. Sanchez will be a mixed bag and could force San Francisco to go to its bullpen early. The Padres offense, even without Tatis, should lead the way and even the series and that's why they are my MLB pick.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.