Luke Voit will make his first start of the season at first base. Austin Nola is in the lineup for a second straight day, this time as designated hitter. Jorge Alfaro is catching. Ha-seong Kim is back at shortstop.
Another day, another interesting lineup for Bob Melvin in the finale of the season-opening series against the Diamondbacks.
Sitting Eric Hosmer against a left-handed starter, especially for a day game after a night game, was expected even though Hosmer has begun the season 6-for-12.
It also gives Melvin a veteran bat to bring off the bench late in a leverage situation, if necessary. It is something he covets but is limited in how much he can do with the Padres current roster.
“Anytime a starter is on the bench,” Melvin said earlier this weekend, “he knows that gives me a match-up later in the game.”
Padres starter Blake Snell looks to begin his 2022 the way he ended his ’21. (That is, before he was shut down with an adductor strain in early September.)
Snell’s run from Aug. 8 to Sept. 7 was among the best six-start stretches by a Padres pitcher in the past decade. He allowed a .110 batting average, had a 1.86 ERA and 0.65 WHIP and struck out 59 batters in 38 2/3 innings.
Included in that run by Snell was an Aug. 31 start at Chase Field in which he did not allow a hit over seven innings before being pulled because he had thrown 107 pitches six days after throwing a career-high 122.
He will operate under a harder pitch limit Sunday. Snell threw 63 pitches Tuesday in his final spring training game.
It would take uncanny efficiency for Snell to match what the Padres’ first three starters have done in going at least six innings. But the bullpen is certainly rested. Among the 10 relievers on the roster, three haven’t appeared in a game yet. The other seven have covered a total of seven innings (plus the four batters they faced without getting anyone out Friday).
The Diamondbacks got a total 10 hits in the first three games of the series. They had none in 13 innings against Yu Darvish (six innings) and Sean Manaea (seven) and collected five hits and scored twice against Joe Musgrove.
Here is the lineup he will face:
Diamondbacks starter Caleb Smith faced the Padres five times in 2021, including twice as a reliever. After primarily working out of the bullpen last season, Smith is in the Arizona rotation to start ’22.
The Padres scored 10 runs (eight earned) and batted .240/.397/.420 in 12 2/3 innings against Smith in 2021. Much of that damage was set up by their 10 walks against him.
Hosmer has actually been the best Padres batter against Smith, going 5-for-15 against him in his career. Manny Machado and Trent Grisham homered off Smith last season.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism