Padres’ starting pitcher a mystery as they host Giants

MLB Baseball

The San Diego Padres will go for a three-game sweep of the visiting San Francisco Giants as well as a shot at first place in the National League West on Sunday at Petco Park.

But the Padres aren’t naming their starting pitcher — maybe because they don’t know.

Yes, there could be problems in paradise.

“We have a lot of things going on with guys coming back off injury,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Saturday night after the Padres defeated the Giants 6-2 for a third straight win.

“I’m going to leave it at that.”

All of Tingler’s media sessions the past two days have included the same question: Who is starting Sunday? And the manager has remained consistent in his evasiveness.

“I’ve got no update on who is going to start tomorrow,” Tingler said before Saturday’s game. “Does it have anything to do with Joe (Musgrove) or others? … It’s a little bit of both; we’re not going to announce anything. We’re waiting for guys to throw and see where we’re going from there.”

The Giants have designated a starter for Sunday — right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-0, 2.14 ERA). And Gausman is a bit of a question. This start was delayed several days for what Giants manager Gabe Kapler described as a groin issue.

The Padres’ pitching situation, however, is not a question. It is a disturbing mystery. There could be issues with any of four pitchers. There are rumors that No. 1 prospect MacKenzie Gore soon could make his major-league debut. There were thoughts that Sunday could be a bullpen start, but the Padres used four relievers Saturday night.

Dinelson Lamet is on the injured list with forearm tightness that arose in the second inning of his first start of 2021 on April 21. Earlier this week, Tingler spoke optimistically of Lamet being activated for Sunday’s game. Lamet hasn’t been discussed the past couple of days.

Chris Paddack was placed on the injured list Thursday due to a “medical condition.”

Musgrove, who threw the first no-hitter in Padres’ history on April 9, last pitched April 25 when he departed after three innings and 77 pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers. There had been no talk about his health until speculation started about why he might not be available Sunday.

And 21-year-old rookie Ryan Weathers, who has a 0.55 ERA after 16 1/3 innings of his major-league career, has been day-to-day since lasting only one inning and 19 pitches in his most recent outing on Wednesday.

At the moment, the only guaranteed healthy Padres’ starting pitchers are Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, who started the first two games against the Giants — not that the opposing pitcher is the biggest problem facing the Giants.

In the first two losses of the series, San Francisco scored one run from four bases-loaded opportunities — three of which have come with less than two outs, chances killed off by a pair of double plays and a set of back-to-back strikeouts. Overall in the first two games, the Giants are 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

In five games against the Padres this season, the Giants have 11 runs.

But Gausman gives them an excellent opportunity. In his past two starts, the 30-year-old right-hander has allowed one run on eight hits and five walks with 16 strikeouts in 14 innings.

“Gausman is a fighter,” Kapler said. “He is resilient … a grinder. He has the pitches and the mental toughness to be a winner.”

On April 7, Gausman held the Padres to a run on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts over seven innings in a 3-2 Giants victory.

–Field Level Media

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