Two pitchers coming off brilliant performances go head-to-head Wednesday afternoon when the San Diego Padres and the host Oakland Athletics complete a two-game interleague series.
The Padres used a 14-hit attack and an impressive outing from Blake Snell for an 8-1 win in the series opener.
San Diego also took the first contest in a two-game set when the clubs met July 27-28 in San Diego. The A’s, however, rebounded from a 7-4 defeat in the opener to earn a 10-4 victory in the rematch.
Neither of Wednesday’s scheduled starters — Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove (7-7, 2.94 ERA) and A’s righty Frankie Montas (9-8, 4.08) — pitched in last week’s series.
They did, however, throw nearly identical masterpieces on July 29. Musgrove shut out the Colorado Rockies on three hits over seven innings in a 3-0 win, while Montas likewise allowed just three hits in seven innings during a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Musgrove struck out 11 and walked one. Montas logged 10 strikeouts and three walks.
Neither 28-year-old has much experience against Wednesday’s foe. Musgrove is 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA in eight games (four starts) in his career against the A’s. Montas has pitched just once against the Padres, going 6 2/3 innings for the win in a 12-4 triumph at San Diego in 2018.
Musgrove hasn’t needed much bullpen help in winning his last two starts, but the Padres took a step nonetheless toward bolstering their late-game alignment with the season debut of Matt Strahm in the series opener.
The left-hander pitched a 1-2-3 eighth in his first major league game since undergoing offseason surgery to repair his right patellar tendon.
It was a first step for Strahm, and a first piece of the puzzle for manager Jayce Tingler, who envisions a day when Dinelson Lamet and Daniel Hudson, both currently out of action, join with Strahm to give San Diego a three-headed, late-game monster.
Lamet is wrapping up a minor league rehab stint as he attempts to return from tightness in his right forearm. Hudson, acquired last week from the Washington Nationals, is on the COVID list.
“We believe that’s a group that potentially is going to get stronger for us these last two months,” Tingler said Tuesday. “You’ve got maybe two or three winning combinations, whether the score’s tied or you’re up a run or two. We believe we’re going to be able to add more winning matchups and a ton more flexibility through the game.”
Regardless of who takes the ball for the Padres, they are going to have to deal with hot-hitting A’s newcomer Starling Marte, who had a single, a double and a home run on Tuesday.
Acquired last week at a hefty price, the do-it-all outfielder already is making fans forget one of their favorite pitchers — Jesus Luzardo — who was dealt to the Miami Marlins in order for Oakland to bulk up its lineup.
Marte had his fifth stolen base in five games since joining the A’s on Tuesday. He’s already almost halfway to catching team leader Ramon Laureano, who had his 12th steal in the loss.
Marte’s .313 average, counting his time with Miami and Oakland, is easily the highest among A’s regulars.
“The way he plays is exciting,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said, “whether it’s stealing bases, whether it’s hitting the ball the other way. You’re going to see some great plays in the outfield, too.
“He’s an electric player. We knew that going in. Now we’re seeing it first-hand.”
–Field Level Media