NEW YORK METS (28-23, second place/NL East) at SAN DIEGO PADRES (25-27, third place/NL West)
PADRES SHORT HOPS
The San Diego Padres had a busy offseason under first-year general manager A.J. Preller, who was hired from the Texas Rangers. In mid-December, San Diego acquired outfielder Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers, catcher Derek Norris from the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves, third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the Boston Red Sox and outfielder Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays. Then, on the eve of the regular season, the Padres again dealt with the Braves, acquiring closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton.
First baseman Yonder Alonso, currently on the disabled list with a right shoulder bruise, is expected to return as soon as Monday's series opener. Alonso has played in five minor league rehab games. Ex-Yankee Yangervis Solarte (.262, 2 HR, 24 RBIs in 164 ABs) has handled first base in Alonso's absence. Meanwhile, Myers has been out since May 10 with left wrist tendinitis and is only now hitting off a tee.
The ex-Brave Kimbrel has allowed 10 earned runs in 19 innings this season. That's the same number of earned runs as he allowed in 67 innings while recording 50 saves in 2013 with the Braves. Kimbrel nonetheless is 12 for 13 in save chances this season.
Cory Mazzoni made his major league debut April 27 as a reliever. Mazzoni was acquired from the Mets late in spring training (along with a player to be named) for left-hander Alex Torres. Currently in his second stint with the Padres this season, Mazzoni had allowed 10 runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and two walks in six innings.
Kennedy's 7.15 ERA would rank worst among NL qualifiers, but because he is averaging fewer than five innings a start, he does not have enough of a workload to appear on the list. Kennedy's fastball velocity is down 1.2 mph from last season and was regularly below 90 mph in his last outing.
The Padres scored a total of five runs in six games started by Andrew Cashner from April 24 through May 22. He was 0-5 with a no-decision during that stretch despite posting a 3.00 ERA. Overall, the Padres are averaging 2.3 runs per game for Cashner -- the lowest total in the majors for any starter.
The NL West can be a challenging division. Forty-four of San Diego's 52 games this season have been played against teams with winning records.
Norris has 17 doubles, the most of any major league catcher.
Justin Upton (.307, 12 HR, 37 RBIs) already has nine homers at Petco Park this season. That matches the most by a player before the All-Star break in the ballpark's history. Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Hairston in 2008 and Will Venable in 2013 also had nine.