Following a three-city road trip, the San Diego Padres are set to head home for a four-game series against the Miami Marlins.
The match up represents the Padres and the Marlins’ first meeting in 2018. Last season, the Friars won just one of six games against Miami.
The Padres return to Petco Park after winning a series against the Pirates and losing series’ to both the Nationals and Dodgers. They have won five of their last 10 games. The Marlins come to San Diego after losing six of their last 10 games, dropping series’ to the Braves and Nationals in that span.
Both teams currently sit in last place in their respective divisions, though the Padres have recently inched closer to the first-place mark, sitting just 6 1/2 games out of the lead in the National League West.
The Friars’ Memorial Day offering features two young starting pitchers going head to head. Neither pitcher has faced their respective opponent in their career. Crafty left-hander Eric Lauer will take the hill for the Padres, and is coming off of perhaps the best start of his young career. In a late-inning loss to Washington, he threw six strong frames, surrendering just one run on six hits, and struck out six in the process. His quality start came after he said he made an adjustment to his pitching mechanics. This season, Lauer has been either stellar or struggled, and he will look to continue his momentum and maintain his positive progress with his start tomorrow.
On the other side of the ball, right-hander Caleb Smith will start for the Marlins. In his last seven games, Smith is 3-4 with a 3.50 ERA, including his most recent start, in which he went 6 2/3 innings against the Mets and received the win. 26-year-old Smith, who is in his second season in the major leagues, appeared in seven games for the Yankees in 2017.
Tuesday night, the Padres will look to veteran righty Tyson Ross. The 31-year-old will try to continue his trend of recent success, as he has won two consecutive starts, and has gone six or more innings in six of his last seven. Current Marlins players in past match ups have batted just .245 against Ross, and he has yet to surrender a home run to any of the seven Marlins players he has previously faced.
Opposite of Ross will be right-hander Dan Straily. Straily has won two of his last three starts, and is coming off of a quality start against the Mets in which he threw six innings and surrendered just one run. Current Padres players have batted .235 against him in the past, though shortstop Freddy Galvis is 5-for-18 with two doubles in his career against Straily.
For the third game of the series, the Padres will feature another journeyman starter, this time in the form of left-hander Clayton Richard. Richard, who has been the anchor of the Padres rotation in terms of longevity, leads the team with 67 innings pitched thus far. Like Lauer, Richard seems to either “have it,” or “not have it,” and has had polarizing results this season that have seen both multiple, eight inning quality starts, as well starts that consisted of him surrendering runs early and sticking it out for the sake of preserving the bullpen. Current Marlins batters have enjoyed success against Richard in the past, batting .302 collectively in 49 total at-bats against him.
For the Marlins, right-hander Jose Urena will start on the mound. Urena, 26, received a no-decision in his last start, surrendering four runs on five hits in Miami’s 9-5 loss to the Nationals. Just four current Padres have faced Urena in the past, with Galvis again leading the way with four hits in 13 at-bats against the righty.
Right-hander Jordan Lyles will start the series finale for the Friars. In a mid-May start against the Rockies, the 27-year-old flirted with perfection, taking a perfect game into the seventh inning before it was broken up. Since then, however, Lyles has regressed a bit, giving up nine runs in his last two starts. He will look to get back on track against the Marlins, who have batted .316 as a group against him in the past.
Wei-Yin Chen will toe the slab for the Marlins in game four. Though he has struggled as a whole this season, the righty is coming off his best start of the year, a start against the Nationals in which he received a no-decision but surrendered just one run in 7 1/3 innings. Padres players, however, have done well against the Taiwanese 31-year-old in the past, batting .371 as a group, with first baseman Eric Hosmer having done the most damage. Hosmer is 9-for-26 with two home runs and five RBI against Chen, with Galvis and utility player Jose Pirela not far behind with .400 and .600 batting averages of their own against the right-hander.
Be sure to check back with East Village Times throughout the series for nightly game recaps and more.
Anderson Haigler is a freelance sports journalist from Escondido, California. This year is his third contributing to the East Village Times. Anderson recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Communication Studies, where he won three awards from the CCMA for both his sports and breaking news coverage for The USD Vista.