Moments after the Padres scored a 2-0 win over the host Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night, San Diego manager Bob Melvin put the game in perspective.
“This is the way playoff games feel,” Melvin said. “And I expect tomorrow will the same thing.”
The Padres and Mariners complete a two-game series — and their four-game season series — Wednesday afternoon with a matchup of right-handers.
Mike Clevinger (5-6, 4.13 ERA) will start for the Padres against the Mariners’ Luis Castillo (6-5, 2.81).
Both teams need a win in their wild-card races.
While the Mariners (79-62) remain five games to the good in the American League wild-card picture, they embark on a 10-game road trip to face the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals following the Wednesday contest.
The Padres (78-64) are clinging to a two-game lead on the Milwaukee Brewers (76-66) in the race for the final National League wild-card berth with four road games against the Arizona Diamondbacks to come later this week.
“We’re not afraid to be playing on the road,” said Melvin, whose team is 40-33 away from home and has six wins in its past seven road games against teams other then the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers. “We still have more offense in there than we’ve seen, especially on a consistent basis. But we’ve had good offensive games on the road.”
That offense will be put to the test Wednesday afternoon against Castillo, who is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in seven starts since joining the Mariners from the Cincinnati Reds in a July 30 trade.
In his most recent start, on Sept. 7 against the White Sox, Castillo fanned the first seven Chicago batters before faltering. He allowed six runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings as the Mariners committed three errors.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen seven strikeouts to start a game,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “As you can tell, Luis was sharp. … (He) deserved better.”
“Baseball is like that,” Castillo said through an interpreter after the game. “Good things happen. Bad things happen. You hope for more good.”
Castillo, 29, has not faced the Padres this season, but he has pitched against them seven times in his career, going 2-3 with a 3.60 ERA, a 1.200 WHIP and a .245 opponents’ batting average with 40 strikeouts in 40 innings. He last faced San Diego on July 1, 2021, when he allowed three runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
The biggest concern for Servais right now could be the Mariners’ defense, which leads the major leagues in fewest errors this season (58). However, they have committed eight in the past five games, including two on Tuesday night.
“We’ll come back and play good defense,” said Servais.
Clevinger will be making his third career start against the Mariners and his second of the season. He took a loss against Seattle on July 5, when he gave up four runs on six hits and two walks in five innings as Seattle completed a two-game sweep in San Diego. Overall vs. Seattle, Clevinger is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA.
He has struggled over the past month, going 2-3 with a 5.94 ERA in seven starts.
–Field Level Media