Padres look to continue Rockies’ road woes

MLB

Sooner or later, the call will come from Major League Baseball freeing the Padres Five from COVID limbo.

Fernando Tatis Jr., Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer and Jurickson Profar will return to the Padres lineup. It could be days away or a week. But the time will come when the 2021 Padres are whole again.

But the Padres are not nearly as panicked as they were a week ago when testing and tracing sent the four Padres starters and utilityman Jorge Mateo to the injured list. That’s because the Padres just swept three games from the National League Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals and now welcome the Colorado Rockies to San Diego.

The Padres won two of three in Colorado last week just after half their starting lineup went into quarantine. The Padres didn’t collapse. In fact, they thrived, going 5-1 with help from Triple-A callups Tucupita Marcano, Patrick Kivlehan, Brian O’Grady, John Andreoli and Ivan Castillo.

How?

“I don’t know how to explain it,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Sunday night after the Padres swept the Cardinals for the first time in a decade. “Solid pitching and defense and a lot of guys playing together and fighting.

“The guys who stepped in are part of the Padres family and the other guys have made it a welcoming environment for them. Honestly, we’re having a blast right now. We need to keep it rolling.”

Which is where the Rockies come in (again). Colorado has the third-worst record in the major leagues and when it comes to playing on the road, the Rockies are a morbid 2-14 — making them the apparent perfect patsy for the winning-but-weakened Padres.

“We are playing better,” said Rockies — and former Padres — manager Bud Black, who knows more than he’d like to about leading bad baseball clubs in San Diego. “We just need to keep moving forward.”

The next step would be winning some road games … like, immediately, in San Diego. But the Padres will be throwing their three leading pitchers against the Rockies starting Monday night, in order, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove.

Game 1 matches Darvish (3-1, 2.08 ERA) against the Rockies Jon Gray (4-3, 2.93 ERA) in a rematch of the opener of the first game of the May 12 doubleheader at Coors Field. The Padres won that game 5-3 in the first game of a seven-inning doubleheader, although both right-handers turned in strong performances.

Darvish held the Rockies to one unearned run on two hits and a walk with two strikeouts in four innings. Gray gave up four runs on three hits and three walks with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. However, only one of the runs charged to Gray was earned.

The Padres have won seven of the eight games started by Darvish, whose earned run average has dropped in six of his past seven starts. Only once in those seven games did Darvish give up more than a run. His line from the past seven games — eight runs allowed (seven earned) on 23 hits and 12 walks in 43 innings for a 1.47 ERA and a 0.814 WHIP.

Like Darvish, Gray will be making his ninth start Monday. The Rockies are 4-4 when he starts and he has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his eight outings. In his past two starts, Gray has given up six runs (three earned) on seven hits and five walks with 14 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media

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