Padres shift focus to Pittsburgh after historic weekend

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Credit: Padres

The San Diego Padres are coming off of a dream series against the Texas Rangers.

They took all three games, including the unforgettable game one of the series where Padres fans witnessed the first no-hitter in the franchise’s 52-year existence thrown by hometown hero Joe Musgrove. After that weekend adrenaline high, the Friars will now shift their sights on to a 4-pack of games against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

It has been a slow start out of the gate for the Pirates as they began the season at 3-6 with their record.

On the offensive side, the standouts early on have been the first baseman Colin Moran and third baseman Phillip Evans who collectively account for five of the total nine home runs hit so far this year for the Pirates. In regards to pitching, these two teams could not be more different. The Padres sport a minuscule 1.98 team ERA, which ranks 1st in the MLB. As for the Pirates, their 6.18 team ERA sits at 29th, with a lot of that stemming from their series against the Cincinnati Reds, where they gave up 30 total runs in three games.

This should come as no surprise, however, as San Diego went all in to improve their rotation this offseason. On the other hand, Pittsburgh has gutted their rotation over the last few seasons by letting go of Jameson Taillon, Chris Archer, and, of course, Joe Musgrove. It will be a sort of faux homecoming for Musgrove as he’s projected to be back on the mound in the third game of the four-game set against his former team. He had a 4.23 ERA and accumulated 18 wins over three seasons in Pittsburgh. 

During Joe Musgrove’s historical no-hitter on Friday night, Dinelson Lamet was also on the mound in Peoria, pitching 3 ⅔ innings against Dodgers alternate site batters.

Manager Jayce Tingler mentioned giving him one more start in Peoria and is even considering activating him for this upcoming series in Pittsburgh, per 97.3 The Fan. Tingler has not made a follow-up statement since on the availability of Lamet.

The projected starters for the Padres during this four-game set will be Yu Darvish (10.2 IP, 5 ER), Blake Snell (9.2 IP, 2 ER), Joe Musgrove (15 IP, 0 ER), and Chris Paddack (8 IP, 5 ER). 

They will be squaring off against RHP Trevor Cahill (4 IP, 7 ER), RHP Chad Kuhl (7 IP, 5 ER), LHP Tyler Anderson (10.1 IP, 6 ER), and RHP Mitch Keller (8 IP, 4 ER). This entire rotation has been knocked around to begin the year, and it won’t get any easier here with five different Padres hitters currently batting above the .300 mark. 

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It’s been nearly two years since these two squads have faced one another as the COVID-19 shortened season forced these teams to limit their schedule to West and Central division teams, respectively. Their last series came in June 2019, where the Pirates swept the Padres in three games. They also hold a 13-11 record against the Friars over the last five seasons.

The Padres sit at 7-3 and a half-game back of the Dodgers currently in the standings.

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