SAN DIEGO — The best news for the Padres Saturday evening at Petco Park is that left-hander Brent Suter is starting for Milwaukee as the Brewers seek to complete their season-opening series against the Padres.
Time for the Padres to unleash right fielder Hunter Renfroe. He has pinch hit in the first two games and enters play on Saturday looking for his first hit this season.
At the moment, Renfroe is strictly a platoon outfielder. The reason is simple. In just over a full season in the majors, Renfroe has hit .216 against right-handers with a .253 on-base percentage. He has also struck out 121 times in 357 at-bats.
But Renfroe has been a beast against left-handers. He has 12 homers in 124 career at-bats against lefties. He also has a .315 batting average with a .390 on-base percentage and a .685 slugging percentage for a 1.076 OPS.
Mind you, it’s a small sample size. But Renfroe is the only player in the 15-season history of Petco Park to homer onto the roof of the Western Metal Supply Company building down the left-field line. And Renfroe has done it twice … both times off left-handed pitchers.
While on the bench, Renfroe is soaking up as much knowledge as possible.
“You do the best you can to learn what’s the best way for you to prepare,” Renfroe told reporters. “It’s obviously just the second day of me doing this. You’ve got to learn, talk to (hitting coach Matt) Stairs, figure out what works best. … It’s a type of thing where you’ve got to learn and grow into it.”
A blast by Renfroe might be the jump-start the Padres need.
They lost Thursday’s opener 2-1 in 12 innings an inning after Chase Headley bounced into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded. And Friday night Ryan Braun‘s three-run homer capped a five-run ninth as the Brewers won 8-6 to snap a streak of 127 straight Padres wins at Petco Park when they took a lead into the ninth.
The 28-year-old Suter, who has never faced the Padres, will be matched against Padres right-hander Luis Perdomo.
Suter, a Harvard product, was a 31st-round pick in the 2012 draft, made the Opening Day roster for the first time in his career. Last season, Suter served six stints with the Brewers, going 3-2 with a 3.42 earned run average in 22 appearances (14 starts). He allowed eight homers with seven of those being hit by a right-handed hitter … like Renfroe.
Suter had a 4.57 ERA in seven games (five starts) during spring training.
Perdomo, 24, was a Rule 5 draft acquisition by the Padres in December of 2015. Last season, Perdomo was 8-11 with a 4.67 ERA in 29 starts. Perdomo is 0-2 lifetime against the Brewers with a 4.35 ERA in four starts. He is 10-10 in his two-year career at Petco Park with a 5.35 ERA in 31 games (24 starts).
Perdomo is hoping against a repeat of his 2017 season when he went 10 starts into the season without recording a win. He was 0-4 with six no-decisions.
Perdomo ranked second in the National League last season with a 62.6 percent ground ball rate and tied teammate Clayton Richard by inducing 32 double-play grounders.
Perdomo had a 1-2 record this spring with a 5.74 ERA in four Cactus League appearances, although he pitched better in his final two outings.