Still riding the momentum of their first no-hitter in franchise history, the San Diego Padres begin a four-game series against the host Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
Joe Musgrove began the Padres’ seven-game road trip with a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers on Friday and the Padres completed the three-game sweep with Sunday’s 2-0 victory.
San Diego has matched its third-best start in franchise history after 10 games at 7-3 but needs to be careful not to overlook the Pirates, who took two of three against the Chicago Cubs over the weekend.
Pittsburgh was 1-6 before outscoring the Cubs 15-3 in the final two games of the series.
Bryan Reynolds had four hits in the Pirates’ 7-1 victory on Sunday while Phillip Evans added a pair of singles. Evans is batting .393 (11-for-28) while filling in for injured third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes (wrist) and making a case for regular playing time once Hayes returns.
“I’m preparing for every position, wherever they want to put me out there,” Evans said. “Knowing I’ll get some more at-bats during Key’s downtime, it’s definitely confidence-building for me. Every day I’m coming to the ballpark with the same attitude, same mentality every night.”
San Diego began a stretch of 17 straight days without a day off over the weekend and continues to battle the injury bug. The latest addition to the list came Sunday when starting pitcher Adrian Morejon left the game after just 16 pitches with a left elbow/forearm strain.
Padres manager Jayce Tingler is also monitoring the progress of star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who has been out since April 5 due to a left shoulder subluxation. Tatis has been working out with the Padresand could be activated from the injured list as soon as Friday.
“We want to take it day by day, but we feel confident if we can continue down this road, we’re going to be in a good position for him to be activated,” Tingler said.
The Padres will be facing Pirates starter Trevor Cahill (0-1, 15.75 ERA), who allowed seven runs on nine hits over four innings in last Tuesday’s 14-1 loss to Cincinnati.
The 33-year-old right-hander is pitching for his ninth major league team and owns a 2-5 record and 3.97 ERA in 14 career games (10 starts) against San Diego.
Cahill will be looking to continue a string of solid outings by Pittsburgh starters after Tyler Anderson, Mitch Keller and JT Brubaker posted a combined 2.87 ERA over the past three games covering 15 2/3 innings.
The Padres will hand the ball to Yu Darvish (0-0, 4.22 ERA), who is seeking his first victory with his new team after receiving a no-decision in his first two starts. The 34-year-old allowed one run on three hits over six innings against San Francisco last Tuesday.
Adam Frazier has one hit in 11 at-bats versus Darvish, who is 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA in six career starts against Pittsburgh.
The Padres’ rotation could receive a boost later this week with the return of right-hander Dinelson Lamet, who has been sidelined due to elbow discomfort. Lamet finished fourth in the Cy Young voting last year and moved closer to making his season debut after throwing 56 pitches in an alternate site game on Saturday.
–Field Level Media