San Diego’s Joe Musgrove will aim to record his fourth consecutive victory when the Padres face the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night in Phoenix.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a stellar 1.44 ERA over his past four starts. He has struck out 28 and allowed 16 hits and six walks during the stretch.
The Padres certainly could use a big effort from Musgrove after losing the first two contests of the four-game series. Arizona rolled to a 12-3 victory on Thursday before posting a dramatic 3-2 win Friday thanks to Daulton Varsho’s walk-off homer.
The back-to-back setbacks leave San Diego a distant 10 games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West and five games in back of the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers. The Padres own a 2 1/2-game lead over the Cincinnati Reds for the NL’s second wild-card berth.
“Look, this game can be emotional with a ton of ups and downs,” San Diego manager Jayce Tingler told reporters. “This is an exciting time to show up for the ballpark. You’re playing for something each and every day.”
Overall, San Diego has dropped three straight games and will look for Musgrove to end the skid.
Musgrove (8-7, 2.81 ERA) has been streaky in his first season with the Padres but currently is the team’s best starter with All-Star right-hander Yu Darvish’s status unclear after being removed Wednesday due to lower-back tightness. In addition, former American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell — who received a no-decision on Friday — has experienced a subpar season.
The 28-year-old Musgrove etched his name into franchise lore by throwing the club’s first no-hitter on April 9 against the Texas Rangers.
That contest marks one of eight times that Musgrove has allowed one or fewer runs while completing at least six innings — including each of his past three outings.
Another one of those efforts came in his first start of the season on April 3 against the Diamondbacks. He allowed three hits and struck out eight in six scoreless innings in the 7-0 win.
Musgrove is 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA in six appearances (five starts) against Arizona. He has shut down Christian Walker (0-for-7).
Arizona has the worst record in the majors but is a respectable 11-12 over the past 23 games.
Still, few moments were celebrated as much as Friday’s win as Varsho led off the bottom of the ninth and sent a full-count pitch from Padres reliever Craig Stammen an estimated 413 feet over the wall in right.
The big blow was the first walk-off home run of Varsho’s 93-game major-league career.
“I don’t know if there is another thing you can compare it to,” said Varsho, who also had a run-scoring single in the second inning. “You see teammates at home plate, it’s just adrenaline through the roof. It was cool to see all those faces.”
The win improved Arizona to 6-8 against San Diego this season.
Left-hander Tyler Gilbert (0-1, 0.00) will make his first career start for the Diamondbacks on Saturday.
The 27-year-old Gilbert has made three relief appearances, including one against San Diego on Aug. 7 in which he allowed one hit in two scoreless innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Gilbert went 5-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) at Triple-A Reno before his recall.
Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. (dislocated left shoulder) continues to progress and might take batting practice at the club’s spring-training complex in nearby Peoria on Saturday. Tatis injured the shoulder for the fourth time this season on July 30.
–Field Level Media