Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer and Brandon Woodruff.
Those are the starting pitchers the Padres have faced in the past four games. Respectively, they own ERAs of 2.00, 2.19, 2.42 and 1.96.
And Tuesday night, the Padres go against Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes at Petco Park in San Diego. Burnes has a 0.49 ERA, a 0.218 WHIP and 30 strikeouts without walking a hitter over 18 1/3 innings in his first three starts of the season.
“We recognize this stretch with the Dodgers and Brewers being an incredibly tough stretch in the schedule,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Monday afternoon before Woodruff and three relievers held the Padres to one run on two hits.
“Starting with the Dodgers series and going into this one, we’re facing legitimate No. 1s and 2s … we’re facing playoff-type caliber guys. The Brewers’ Woodruff and Burnes have thrown the ball as good as anyone in the game. We know we have our hands full.”
And this is just the start. The Padres go to Los Angeles this coming weekend for four games, during which they will again face Buehler, Kershaw and Bauer.
But before that, there is the matter of Burnes Tuesday night in a pairing with Padres right-hander Chris Paddack (1-1, 4.15 ERA).
Burnes’ numbers are staggering the more you inspect them. Thirty strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings equates to 14.7 strikeouts per nine innings. And the 6-foot-3 26-year-old doesn’t even have a strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Rival hitters are batting .067 against Burnes this season (4-for-60), and a measly .263 OPS.
One of the four hits he allowed was a home run to the Twins’ Byron Buxton in his first start. That was also the only run he’s allowed.
“Corbin, it’s an incredible start to the season,” said Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell. “It might be historic. He’s pitching with a ton of confidence and that’s freed him to execute.
“We felt we could lean on Woodruff and Burnes. They are capable of this.”
Added Tingler: “We’re going to have to swing and put the ball in play against Burnes, because he’s not going to give us free bases. The Brewers are a very good team. They can certainly pitch it … their strength starts on the mound with Woodruff and Burnes being exceptional.”
Paddack has been exceptional in the past. But that hasn’t been the case in 2021 and for most of last season.
The Texan has gone just 13 innings in his first three starts. He has given up nine runs (six earned) on 13 hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts. He’s needed 259 pitches to get through those 13 innings – or almost 20 per inning. And he hasn’t shown the pinpoint command that got him to the bigs.
Burnes has faced the Padres twice in a pair of one-inning relief appearances in 2018 and 2019. He allowed a run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Paddack faced the Brewers once in his career. It was during his rookie season of 2019 when, as a 23-year-old, he posted a 9-7 record with a 3.33 ERA. He held the Brewers to one run on a hit and a walk with nine strikeouts in a five-inning start.
–Field Level Media