Until when is it too late?
The clock is ticking against the padreswho many considered a playoff shoo-in after bolstering an already impressive roster with the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Michael Wacha, Nelson Cruz and Matt Carpenter
But few things went as planned. Most recently, after having a chance to sweep the lowly Detroit Tigers on Sunday, San Diego fell 3-1 to drop four games under .500 with 62 games left.
Monday’s contest also marks the start of a six-game homestand. But following the pirate in town will be the American League West leaders Texas Rangers and the padres hit the road for eight of 12 games after that
THE padres‘ Only four home games in this streak won’t be easy either. The Los Angeles Dodgers, leaders of the National League in the West, will come to town
A series victory against the pirate could definitely help padres set the tone for their homestand and beyond. Pittsburgh is just 2-7 since the All-Star break, but swept San Diego in a three-game set at Pittsburgh in late June
“We played a solid all-around series against the padres“, pirate manager Derek Shelton said after his team beat San Diego 21-9 June 27-29. “We had good pitching, especially from the bullpen, timely hitting, and we just played good baseball against a dangerous team.
While the padresOpponents may be playing good baseball, San Diego manager Bob Melvin thinks his team tends to fight
“I think no matter who we’re playing against, we should be confident to win a series and/or run here,” Melvin said. “I don’t think the opponent matters.
“But at this point, every series is going to be a challenge for us. … Sometimes we’ve played better against teams like Tampa than against teams with poorer records. I don’t think we’re really playing. It’s more about us.”
The offense has often been difficult to find for padres, who haven’t scored more than three points in 44% of their games this season. In those games, San Diego is 6-38
Right-hander Yu Darvish (7-6, 4.36 ERA) will try to lead the padres away from those negative trends when he makes his 18th season start on Monday
In his last outing, Darvish allowed four hits in six scoreless innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday to earn straight victories for the first time since early June.
Darvish is 4-2 with a 2.63 ERA in nine career starts against the pirate
Pittsburgh will send fellow right-hander Quinn Priester (0-1, 11.81) to the mound in Game 1 of the series.
Priester will be making his second major league start, and his first didn’t go so well. He allowed seven runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings against the visiting Cleveland guards on July 17. Priester walked two bases and struck out two while suffering the loss.