Padres carry momentum from comeback into series vs. Rockies

MLB Baseball

Padres carry momentum from comeback into series vs. Rockies

There is a theorem in baseball that goes: “Momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher.”

The San Diego Padres will put that to a test Friday night as they open a three-game home series against the road-woeful Colorado Rockies.

The Padres definitely have momentum. They tied the franchise record for biggest comeback Thursday night when they rallied from an 8-0 deficit while facing three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to score a 9-8 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Trent Grisham’s single with two outs in the ninth inning gave San Diego a walk-off win. The biggest hit in the comeback was a fourth-inning grand slam that was the first major-league hit by relief pitcher Daniel Camarena — off Scherzer.

So, momentum … check.

Starting pitcher?

That’s where it gets iffy.

Friday would have been Blake Snell’s turn in the rotation. However, the left-hander is still weakened by an illness that forced him to skip his scheduled June 29 start. He returned to pitch Sunday and blanked the Philadelphia Phillies on two hits over four innings.

“He battled through on July 4, but he wasn’t at full strength,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Thursday. “We expected him to turn the corner and be stronger by now, but that hasn’t happened.”

So Tingler announced Thursday that Snell likely wouldn’t be able to start Friday against the Rockies. In his place will be TBA.

“We don’t have a starter right now,” Tingler said.

It could be Snell (3-3, 4.99 ERA) if he awakened Friday feeling better. It could be a reliever in a bullpen game, although the Padres’ relief corps is pretty much wiped out as the starters went two and three innings the past two nights. And there’s not much held available at Triple-A El Paso.

Colorado, meanwhile, will start left-hander Kyle Freeland (1-2, 5.50).

Freeland’s season didn’t start until May 25, as he was sidelined due to a shoulder strain. In the first five starts upon his return, he was poor: 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA.

However, his past three outings have been excellent: 1-0 with an ERA of 0.53. Freeland enters play Friday with a 12-inning scoreless streak.

In his career against the Padres, Freeland is 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA in 13 games (11 starts). In six games (five starts) at San Diego, he is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA.

The Rockies are coming off a rare road win, 9-3 over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. Colorado improved to 7-33 on the road, a mark that includes three defeats in as many games at San Diego.

“I’d love to go into the All-Star break with a good weekend in San Diego,” said Rockies manager Bud Black, a former Padres manager. “I’d love to have a series that would give us something to carry into the second half.”

Friday does present several challenges for the Padres in addition to the starting pitching. Will they come down from Thursday’s high in time to take the Rockies seriously?

“We fought too hard not to win this game,” Tingler said after the unlikely win. “Probably this is the top. It’s special. Games like this are why I’m confident that we’re going to do special things before it is over.”

–Field Level Media

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