This weekend, the San Diego Padres will continue their home stand with a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds.
The series will be the middle matchup of a three-team home stretch for the Friars.
The Reds come to town much like the Padres’ previous opponent, the Miami Marlins did: 4-6 in their last 10 games. That slate of contests for Cincinnati has been most recently punctuated by series losses on the road to both the Rockies and the Diamondbacks as they began their road trip.
The Padres, on the other hand, have largely continued their middling ways as of late, with perhaps a slight uptick in success in recent contests. 6-4 in their last 10 games, they won their most recent series against the Marlins, prevailing in three of four.
Another matchup against yet another last-place team, however, should afford the Padres an opportunity to continue their positive momentum in multiple facets of their game. Look for Franmil Reyes to stay hot at the plate, and the bullpen to maintain their late-game dominance. Reyes has homered in three of his last four games, and the combination of Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates, and Brad Hand have posted a collective 0.94 ERA in the last month, going 10/10 in save appearances in that span.
Game 1: (7:10) Walker Lockett (MLB Debut) vs. Tyler Mahle (3-6, 4.76 ERA)
With rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi sidelined with a right hip strain, the stage is set for yet another young Padres pitcher to make his debut on the mound. This time it’s Walker Lockett’s turn. Lockett, 24, was drafted by San Diego in the 4th round of the 2012 MLB draft. Though he has been on the Padres’ 40 man roster for the last 18 months, he has yet to record an MLB appearance. This year in Triple-A El Paso, the righty had a 5.31 ERA in 10 games.
For the Reds, right-hander Tyler Mahle will take the hill. The 24-year-old is in his second MLB season, and has posted 4.76 ERA thus far in 2018. In his most recent start at Colorado, he pitched five innings and surrendered four runs on six hits, receiving a no decision in the process. He has never faced the Padres in his career, nor has he previously any faced any player in the current Padre lineup.
As referenced in the last series preview, Eric Lauer on the mound this season has been a tale of two pitchers. While he has had encouraging, and at times dominant outings this year, his most recent effort against the Marlins was not his best, and continued a somewhat troubling trend of ineffective starts. Monday night he lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. He will continue to look to get back on track and return to his more successful form with his upcoming start against the Reds. Lauer has yet to face the Reds in his short career.
Veteran Matt Harvey will start on the mound for the Reds in the middle game of the series. The oft-controversial right-hander was shipped to Cincinnati in early May after struggling with the Mets to begin the season. Since then, he has seemed to figure things out a bit, surrendering zero runs, three runs, and one run in his first three starts for the Reds, before giving up four to the Rockies in his most recent outing. As a whole, current Padres are batting .255 against Harvey, led by first baseman Eric Hosmer’s blistering .556 batting average when facing him.
This season, Tyson Ross has been the anchor of the Padres rotation, as he has gone at least five innings and surrendered three or less runs in each of his last four starts. The Padres will look for him to continue with this consistency on Sunday afternoon. The current Reds lineup has batted .250 against him in the past, though second baseman Scooter Gennett hits at a .361 clip against the 31-year-old.
Opposite of Ross will be Luis Castillo. The 25-year-old right-hander posted a 3.12 ERA in 15 games with the Reds last year, but has since regressed to have a 5.49 ERA in 12 appearances in 2018 thus far. Castillo has faced the Padres once in his career. As far as the current Friars lineup goes, utility player Cory Spangenberg has a double to his credit against Castillo, and fellow utility man Jose Pirela has singled, drove in a run, and walked twice against the right-hander.
Check back with the East Village Times throughout the weekend for game 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.