The San Diego Padres put 10 runs on the board Thursday. Thirteen runs Friday. Zero runs Saturday
That kind of sums up the Padres' season. Two steps forward, one step back
"I thought we were going to sweep this series," manager Bob Melvin after Saturday night's game against the Washington Nationals, which saw the Padres shut out for the seventh time this season. "I thought that'd get us back to .500 and get us on a roll.
Instead, the Padres will be looking for a third straight series win at home in the finale of a three-game set against the Nationals. But what is one team's consolation prize might be seen as another team's breakthrough
The Nationals, 5-15 in June, will be looking for their first series win of the month in Sunday afternoon's rubber match
"It would be great to open this tough road trip by taking a series," said manager Dave Martinez, whose Nationals visit Seattle and Philadelphia before returning home
Of course, the Padres have a history with the 24-year-old Gore. He was San Diego's first-round pick (third overall) in the 2017 draft and went to Washington last Aug. 2 along with shortstop CJ Abrams, outfield prospects Robert Hassell III and James Wood, pitching prospect Jarlin Susana and designated hitter Luke Voit in the trade that brought Juan Soto and Josh Bell to San Diego
Bell is in Cleveland. Voit recently signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets.
Gore goes into his 16th start of the season riding a personal five-decision losing streak, and the Nationals have lost nine of the past 10 games that Gore has started. Overall, Washington is 4-11 when Gore starts
He has given up five runs in two of his past three starts. But sandwiched between those two games was his best outing of the season. On June 15, he threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings, limiting the Houston Astros to four hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
On May 23, Gore faced the Padres for the first time at Nationals Park and allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks with five strikeouts. As a member of the Padres, Gore had a 1-3 record at Petco Park with a 5.67 ERA in eight appearances (seven starts)
"When he attacks with the fastball and keeps the ball down and in the zone, he's effective," Martinez said of Gore.
For Lugo, this will be his second start back after missing five weeks on the injured list with a calf strain. The missed time might have been a blessing in disguise. Lugo won a spot in the Padres' rotation this spring after pitching the previous two seasons exclusively as a reliever for the Mets
"At some point this season, we would probably have had to monitor his innings," Melvin said. "No longer a problem."
He returned from the injured list on June 20 in San Francisco, holding the Giants to one run on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts in five innings. He threw 66 pitches.
Lugo was on the injured list when the Padres played in Washington last month. But the 33-year-old made 38 appearances (five starts) against the Nationals over seven seasons with the Mets, compiling a 3-3 record, 3.57 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 63 innings
--Field Level Media