Padres look to continue success at home vs. Nationals

MLB

Nothing has been sweeter than home for the San Diego Padres this season.

The Padres were 9-1 on their last homestand and enjoyed a franchise-record 12-game winning streak at Petco Park earlier in the season. Overall, they boast a 30-15 mark at home in 2021 heading into the opener of a seven-game homestand that will take them into the All-Star break.

San Diego will begin its latest stretch with the opener of a four-game series against the Washington Nationals on Monday night.

The good news is that the Padres win two of every three games at home. The bad news is that, after the break, the Padres will have only 30 of their final 69 games at home.

“We’re glad to be finishing the first half at home,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said after the Padres recorded an 11-1 win at Philadelphia on Sunday to avoid another losing road trip. “But we also have to play better on the road.”

Even with Sunday’s win, the Padres are 20-21 on the road this season. Their road record plays a large role in their deficits behind the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

For now, however, the Padres need to continue their winning ways at home to keep pace in the West. And opportunity is knocking. The final seven games of the first half are not only at home, they’re against teams with losing records.

First up are the Nationals, who have lost four in a row to slip two games below .500. The Colorado Rockies, who are 6-31 on the road, come to San Diego before the All-Star break.

Sunday’s win made the Padres the fourth team in the National League to reach the 50-win plateau this season.

“I still think our best baseball is ahead of us,” Tingler said.

The Nationals were thinking the same thing until Friday night when Kyle Schwarber grabbed his right leg and limped back into first base with a game-opening single. Schwarber was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday with a “significant” right-hamstring strain.

“It’s not good news, but it’s not as bad as it could be,” Schwarber said.

Well, it’s pretty bad. Schwarber hit 16 homers in June – including seven as the Nationals’ first hitter in a game – to propel the Nationals to a 19-9 record for the month.

Despite a growing injured list that included starting pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Erick Fredde and five relief pitchers, the Nationals had climbed back into the NL East race. Now Schwarber is out indefinitely and shortstop Trea Turner has been temporarily sidelined with a jammed finger.

Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove (5-6, 2.63 ERA) will take the mound to start Monday’s series opener against Nationals left-hander Jon Lester (2-3, 5.34).

Musgrove is coming off his second-worst start of the season. He gave up five runs on four hits and three walks in four innings at Cincinnati last Tuesday.

Musgrove has limited the opposition to a .176 batting average in 16 games (15 starts) this season. He is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against the Nationals, with a 5.73 ERA.

Lester has allowed opponents to bat .291 against him in 12 starts this season. He is 3-1 with a 4.24 ERA in eight career starts against the Padres.

–Field Level Media

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