Two teams hoping a new look will help them move up the standings square off Tuesday night when the visiting San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics open a two-game interleague series.
The pitching duel of left-handers Blake Snell (4-4, 5.44 ERA) of the Padres and Sean Manaea (8-6, 3.01) of the A’s, who is expected to start despite the team not officially naming him yet, could be a rematch of a 10-4 Oakland win last Wednesday that allowed the A’s to earn a split of the two-game series in San Diego.
The A’s roughed up Snell for seven runs and seven hits in four innings that day, triggered by a three-run home run by Matt Chapman in a four-run first inning. But the A’s scored four or fewer runs for a sixth time in seven games the following day, prompting management to seek reinforcements.
The Oakland lineup now features Starling Marte, Josh Harrison and Yan Gomes after a couple of trades last week. They all started together for the first time Sunday, combining for six hits, three RBIs and three runs in an 8-3 road win over the Los Angeles Angels.
While Gomes assured he was thrilled to be joining the A’s, noting, “This is an exciting team to be on,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin couldn’t get enough of Marte’s three-hit, three-steal performance Sunday.
“We haven’t seen anything like Marte,” he gushed. “His athleticism and his stolen-base ability.”
Manaea has gone 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA in his last three starts, striking out 29 in 18 1/3 innings. He shut out the Padres on one hit over six innings in last week’s win, striking out nine.
The 29-year-old has never lost to the Padres in three lifetime starts, going 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
Snell had been unbeaten in five starts before his debacle against Oakland last week. He’s now 1-1 with a 5.31 ERA in four career starts against the A’s.
Like the A’s, the Padres got last week’s key offensive acquisitions in the lineup together for the first time Sunday, and it helped produce an 8-1 home win over the Colorado Rockies.
Adam Frazier and Jake Marisnick each scored as the Padres snapped a two-game skid by exploding for their most runs since July 17.
While the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants and second-place Los Angeles Dodgers made big-time splashes at the trade deadline, the third-place Padres were relatively quiet, including not getting any rotation help.
General manager A.J. Preller explained it’s up to guys like Snell to pitch better.
“We have starters that we believe in,” Preller insisted. “We could’ve added a starting pitcher, but if the other four or five guys don’t pitch like they’re capable of, honestly, it’s not going to matter.”
Both teams did add to their bullpens, with the A’s picking up Andrew Chafin from the Chicago Cubs, while the Padres made a move for Daniel Hudson of the Washington Nationals.
Chafin’s first three Oakland efforts have been outstanding. He has yet to allow a run in 2 2/3 innings.
Hudson has yet to pitch for the Padres but has been rolling of late. He hasn’t given up a run in any of his last five appearances, spanning 5 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media