Even before acquiring All-Star Adam Frazier from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday for three minor league prospects, the Padres had been looking forward to July 26.
Monday was a much-needed day off for the Padres -- a breather sandwiching a difficult 10-day road trip to open the second half and astretch that looks to be a golden opportunity.
Twenty of the Padres' next 24 games are against teams at .500 or below -- with two of the four exceptions coming Tuesday and Wednesday against the visiting Oakland A's. Fifteen of those 24 games are in San Diego, where the Padres are 33-19, tied for the most home wins in the National League.
Until the Los Angeles Dodgers return to San Diego on Aug. 24, the only team the Padres will face that currently sports a winning record is Oakland. After the Athletics' two-game series in San Diego this week, the teams will play a two-game set in Oakland on Aug. 3-4.
"We're coming home for an important part of our schedule," San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said Sunday afternoon after the Padres completed a 5-4 trip with their second straight loss to the Miami Marlins.
The Padres and A's find themselves in similar circumstances as they begin play Tuesday night in a match of right-handers -- James Kaprielian (5-3, 2.65 ERA) starting for the A's against the Padres Chris Paddack (6-6, 5.17).
The A's will play 10 games in the next three weeks against the bottom two teams in their division, the American League West -- the Los Angeles Angels (four games) and Texas Rangers (six).
Both the Padres and A's are coming off tough weekends. Oakland lost the final three games in a four-game set against the host Seattle Mariners. The Padres won the first two in Miami, then lost two straight to the NL East cellar-dwellers.
The Padres won two of the three games the teams played in Oakland last season and are 8-1 in interleague play thus far this season.
Both Paddack and Kaprielian are coming off an excellent start.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound, 27-year-old Kaprielian, a first-round pick of the Yankees (16th overall) in the 2015 draft, blanked the Angels on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over six innings on July 20. He has a 1.118 WHIP and a .202 opponents' batting average in 12 starts this season.
He has a 1.50 ERA in three July starts, but he has a 4.00 ERA on the road this season compared to a 1.13 ERA at home.
"Kaprielian has been fantastic," A's manager Bob Melvin said after the 6-0 win over the Angels. "He's topped our expectations."
The 6-5, 220-pound, 25-year-old Paddack shut out the Atlanta Braves on three hits and no walks over five innings in a 3-2 win Wednesday. He is 4-1 since June 13. On the season, he has a 1.299 WHIP and a .270 OBA in 19 appearances (18 starts).
Kaprielian will be facing the Padres for the first time. Paddack took the Padres' lone loss at Oakland last year, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.
--Field Level Media