|Slumping Padres out to snap losing streak against Reds|
After getting off to their fastest start in years, the San Diego Padres are suddenly hitting - and pitching - on no cylinders.
On Thursday night, the Padres lost their fourth straight game, this one to a Cincinnati Reds team that came to San Diego riding their own four-game losing streak. Gone is the Padres' early season lead in the National League West.
Friday night, the Padres hope to regain some of their lost momentum as left-hander Matt Strahm (0-2, 4.26 ERA) takes on Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (0-1, 7.43 ERA) at Petco Park.
The Padres have scored nine runs on 26 hits during their four-game losing streak - including three runs on 11 hits the past two games - while the four youngest members of their starting rotation have experienced their worst starts in their fourth starts of the season.
Chris Paddack gave up three runs Thursday night after allowing only three runs (two earned) in his first three major-league starts.
Left-hander Eric Lauer, 23, suffered the loss last Sunday in Arizona to start the four-game skid, giving up three runs on eight hits in five innings. Lauer was 1-1 in his first two starts with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.273 WHIP. He is 1-1 in his past two starts with a 6.55 ERA and a 1.364 WHIP.
Joey Lucchesi, 25, was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.968 WHIP in his first two starts. He is 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA and 1.636 WHIP in his last two starts.
And Nick Margevicius, 22, was 0-1 in his first two starts with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.500 WHIP. He again allowed only one run a third straight start on April 10 in San Francisco. But Colorado got to him for five runs on seven hits in four innings Tuesday night to up his totals over his last two starts to 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
While Paddack's plunge hasn't been as sharp - he has allowed only nine hits in his first 20 major-league innings - he still gave up three runs in six innings Thursday.
So it is now up to the oldest member of the Padres' rotation to get San Diego headed back in the right direction. Strahm, 27, is coming off his sharpest outing of the season. Last Saturday night in Arizona, Strahm shut out the Diamondbacks on five hits and no walks over five innings while throwing a season-high 89 pitches.
"We're seeing what we hoped to see from Matt," Padres manager Andy Green said after Strahm's outing last weekend. "His mix is sharp and he's building up length."
Strahm, who gave up five runs on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings in his first start of the season and still had a 7.04 ERA after two outings, has faced Cincinnati only once before in his career, allowing a run on two hits with five strikeouts in a 2 1/3-inning relief appearance.
DeSclafani will be facing the Padres for the fourth time in his career. He has a 1-0 record against the Padres with a 2.50 ERA, a .258 opponents' batting average and a 1.056 WHIP - allowing five runs on 17 hits and two walks with 14 strikeouts in 18 innings. In his only previous start at Petco Park, DeSclafani allowed one run on four hits with six strikeout over six innings.
But he is off to a slow start after three starts this season, giving up 11 runs on 15 hits and seven walks in 13 1/3 innings - including four runs on five hits and three walks in four-plus innings against the Cardinals in Monterrey, Mexico, last Sunday.
Another player off to a slow start -- Reds first baseman Joey Votto -- hit his first career leadoff home run Thursday night, and he clearly hopes it's the start of a turnaround for him.
"After a while, you get really frustrated and embarrassed when you don't play well," Votto said. "Especially when you come into a season talking a big game and you don't perform well. I don't like the idea of overpromising and underdelivering."
--Field Level Media