Reds vs. Padres: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 18: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Eugenio Suarez #7 after hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 18: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates with Eugenio Suarez #7 after hitting a solo home run. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres runs the bases after hitting a third-inning solo home run.
DENVER, CO – JUNE 16: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the San Diego Padres runs the bases after hitting a third-inning solo home run. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Padres phenom is as good as advertised.

You can’t turn on ESPN or MLB Network without their talking heads tripping over themselves to praise San Diego shortstop Fernandez Tatis Jr., and it’s not hyperbole. Tatis Jr. is really that good.

Entering play today, Tatis Jr. is slashing a stout .277/.352/.665 with an impressive 1.017 OPS. His 21 home runs and 178 OPS+ leads the National League. But wait, there’s more. His 48 RBIs trail only Jesus Aguilar of the Miami Marlins for the top spot in the senior circuit. By the way, Tatis Jr. is only 22-years-old.

San Diego has needed every bit of Tatis Jr.’s fireworks because overall, their offense is a fairly pedestrian unit. Even though they are second in the league, drawing 258 free passes, they sport a weak .232 batting average, ranking them 11th in the National League.

However, when the Padres do reach base, they create havoc on the base paths. Their 67 stolen bases easily outdistance the 41 swiped by the Miami Marlins for the most thefts in the league.  Five Padres have stolen more than six bases this year.  Needless to say, Reds’ backstops Tucker Barnhart and Tyler Stephenson, will have their hands full this weekend.

If the Reds trail in the late innings, they will be in a world of trouble as setup man Austin Adams and closer Mark Melancon have been lights out. Tossing 24 innings, Adams has allowed just 12 hits while fanning a remarkable 36 batters.

Even though he’s 36-years-old closer Mark Melancon shows no signs of slowing down. The veteran has opened his 13th year in the majors by converting 19-of-21 save opportunities and holding the opposition to a .175 batting average.