Opportunity is knocking at the Padres’ door.
Manager Jayce Tingler sees it. But he’s remaining cautious.
“You can never get too over-confident,” Tingler said Monday night after the Padres shut out the Colorado Rockies for a fourth straight win. “Things can change quickly.”
They already have several times during the first quarter of the season. Top-of-the rotation pitching talent Dinelson Lamet and No. 1 catcher Austin Nola started the season on the injured list and Lamet has yet to go more than two innings.
Starting pitcher Adrian Morejon was lost to Tommy John surgery after his second start. And during May, the Padres have lost five players to Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 protocols.
But the Padres could be back to full strength by the weekend and have two more games against the reeling Rockies before they host Seattle, while the Dodgers and Giants are going head-to-head for the first of seven games the National League West rivals will play in a span of 10 days.
“Right now, we just want to keep this going,” said Tingler, whose Padres are 7-1 over the last eight games — partly because they have won three of four games against the Rockies during the run.
But here’s the catch. Tuesday night’s second round of this Padres-Rockies set is a pitching rematch of the only game the Padres have lost over the last week.
Padres left-hander Blake Snell (1-0, 4.19 ERA) will be facing Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber (2-4, 5.49 ERA). Neither pitcher figured into the Rockies’ 3-2 win in eight innings of the second game of a doubleheader last Wednesday. Snell allowed two runs on five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in four innings. Gomber held the Padres to one unearned run on four hits and a walk with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
At the moment, Snell might be the leading of several concerns the Padres have in their rotation. And Gomber, who has struggled on the road this season, might be asked — as Jon Gray was Monday night — to go as long as possible because of the status of the Rockies’ bullpen.
“We had some relievers unavailable Monday night and it’d be good if they had another night off Tuesday,” said Rockies manager Bud Black, whose club fell to 2-15 in road games with Monday’s 7-0 loss to the Padres.
Snell recently has struggled with command and control, issues that have limited his ability to go deeper into games this season. He has pitched into the sixth only once. His average start this season has lasted 4 1/3 innings. And his average inning has lasted 20 pitches.
Snell issued nine walks over 8 2/3 total innings in his last two starts. He also gave up six runs despite giving up just six hits.
Meanwhile, Gomber’s start against the Padres last week was something of an anomaly. Gomber has struggled mightily in five road starts, going 1-3 with a 7.56 ERA and a 1.440 WHIP — giving up 23 runs on 25 hits and 11 walks in 25 innings.
Gomber has given up 4.8 walks per nine innings this season and Tuesday night he faces a Padres team that works the count and drew 26 walks during a three-game sweep of the Cardinals last weekend.
–Field Level Media