Usually, going into the deciding matchup of a three-game series with the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates wouldn't be considered a sign of good things
However, the San Diego Padres have been searching for hints that a long-awaited surge might be on the horizon. After losing the series opener, the Padres prevailed on Tuesday and have their sights set on winning the series in the Wednesday matinee
San Diego quickly overcame an early deficit on Tuesday, then added to the lead. The Padres played well in the field, and the bullpen turned in three scoreless innings en route to a 5-1 victory
"Monday was a tough loss. We've done well responding from really tough losses. We play well when we're in dire need of a game. That was tonight."
Now the Padres are aiming for a third straight series win and their sixth victory in nine games. It's progress, but still not the winning streak Melvin is anticipating as the way to get back into the playoff race. San Diego's longest winning streak this season was three games, accomplished six times
Pirates manager Derek Shelton also sees opportunity on Wednesday
"It'd be a big step for us if we could win the season series (5-1) against a team the caliber of the Padres," Shelton said. "A win would be great before heading home for a day off before the next homestand.
Oviedo, 25, will be making his 21st start of the season as the Pirates wrap up their six-game road trip. In his latest outing, Oviedo gave up five runs on three hits and three walks over four innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday in Anaheim, Calif
On July 15, he matched his career highs in strikeouts (10) and innings pitched (seven) against the visiting San Francisco Giants. Oviedo has lost his past eight decisions despite having a 3.23 ERA in five starts in June.
Oviedo has faced the Padres only once previously. He allowed three runs on two hits and five walks over two-plus innings while taking a loss for the St. Louis Cardinals on May 14, 2021, in San Diego
"When he's ahead in the count, Oviedo is a very effective pitcher," Shelton said.
Meanwhile, Lugo is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in six starts since returning from the injured list on June 20. Before going on the IL due to a left calf strain, Lugo was 3-3 with a 4.10 ERA. The Padres are 6-8 in Lugo's 14 starts this season
Lugo, 33, hasn't faced the Pirates this season, but he was 0-1 with a 4.58 ERA and a .209 opponents' batting average in 11 career appearances (one start) against Pittsburgh while pitching for the New York Mets in previous years
Lugo joined the Padres as a free agent in December with the promise of getting the opportunity to start. He has yet to appear in relief for San Diego
--Field Level Media