Coming off of perhaps the best stretch of baseball they have played so far this season, the San Diego Padres now head back to the East Coast for a three game series against the Miami Marlins. The Padres are winners of seven of their last ten games, and have prevailed in their last three consecutive series, most recently doing so by taking two of three from the Atlanta Braves.
As of late, the Friars appear to be firing on all cylinders despite a persistent rash of injuries that have sidelined several of their core players (Wil Myers, Joey Lucchesi, and Franchy Cordero). Timely hitting across the board from their starting lineup paired with quality starts from their rotation (and bullpen) has seen them climb to within four games of the National League West lead, though they remain six games under .500 at 29-35 on the year, and are still in fifth place. Nonetheless, the Padres have made compelling strides towards both short-term contention and long-term player development among their major league roster within the last two weeks.
The Miami Marlins represent a familiar opponent for San Diego. They led off the Padres’ home stand just 11 days ago with a four-game set, a series that the Padres won three games to one, winning by scores of 9-5, 3-2, and 8-3. In that series,the Padres got things done with their bats,and will look to continue to do so this upcoming weekend.
Since then, the Marlins have traveled to Arizona and St. Louis, and got swept by the Diamondbacks and won two games against the Cardinals. In their last ten games, their record has been opposite of the Padres, having won just three contests.
Young left-hander Eric Lauer will take the hill for the Padres in game one of the series. In his most recent start against the Reds, the 22-year-old seemed to take a positive step forward in his development. He pitched five innings and received the win, scattering five hits across those frames and surrendered just one earned run — a solo shot to catcher Curt Casali.
However, the last time he faced the Marlins, Lauer was not nearly as effective. Pitching against Miami on May 28, he lasted just 2 1/3 innings, surrendering five runs on seven hits in that span. If Lauer is to continue his forward progress in a season that has been somewhat inconsistent for him, he will need to figure out a way to silence the Marlins’ bats. The current Miami lineup is batting a collective .538 against him.
With right-hander Caleb Smith on the mound for the Marlins, game one will resemble a rematch of sorts for the two teams. Smith most recently pitched on Saturday against the Diamondbacks, and struggled. Tossing just four innings in a game in which he received the loss, he allowed five runs on five hits, surrendering two home runs to Arizona in the process. Smith, though, fared far better in his last outing against San Diego, when he went up against Eric Lauer. He went seven innings, received the win, and allowed just one earned run on four hits. Current Padres are batting just .160 against him, though Franmil Reyes does have a home run to his credit against the right-hander.
If there’s anything Tyson Ross has been for the Padres this season, it’s consistent. In his last seven games started, he is 3-1 with a 3.29 ERA, has pitched five innings or more in all of those starts, and surrendered three runs or less in six of those outings. Last time out against Miami, the right-hander went 5 1/3 innings, scattering six hits across those frames and allowing three earned runs in total. Current Marlins batters are hitting .263 against him, and he will look to continue to keep them at bay in game two of the series.
In his last seven games, Dan Straily enjoys a 3.50 ERA, and has been reasonably effective. In his last start against the Padres, he was not. On May 29, he received the loss against the Friars, giving up five runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. In the game, first baseman Eric Hosmer doubled off of him, and outfielder Franmil Reyes homered to deep left. The Padres would go on to win by a 9-5 margin. As a whole, the current Padres roster is batting .257 against the righty.
Veteran Clayton Richard will start for the Friars in the series finale. Richards, like Ross, has been relatively consistent for the Padres this season, and will try to continue that trend on Sunday. His most recent start against the Braves in which he received the win was among his best — he went seven innings, and surrendered just three earned runs, scattering six hits across those frames. His most recent start against the Marlins was similar: he also lasted seven innings, this time surrendering just two earned runs on four hits, though he received a no-decision for his efforts. The Marlins are batting .250 as a group against the left-hander.
Jose Urena will be the Marlins’ starter on Sunday. He was hit hard in his most recent start against the Cardinals, allowing 10 hits in five innings, but managed to give up just four runs in that span. The last time he faced the Padres, he fared better, going six innings and surrendering just one run on three hits. As a team, the current Padres are batting just .186 when facing the right-hander, though Freddy Galvis does have a .286 average and a pair of RBI against Urena.
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