The San Diego Padres will vie for a four-game sweep of the visiting Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
But three straight wins coming off a run win which they lost 13 of 17 games is not what had Padres manager Jayce Tingler smiling Saturday night.
The Padres might have dodged the big one on the heels of substitute shortstop Ha-Seong Kim snapping a tie with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning on Saturday.
“He’s sore,” Tingler said. “He’s day-to-day. But the tests aren’t showing any damage.”
“He” is shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and he left Saturday night’s game after falling hard on the left shoulder he partially dislocated back in April.
Tatis leads the National League in homers (22). He is the early leader in the league voting for the All-Star Game shortstop. The 22-year-old is also the heart of the Padres offense — and he seems to be getting hotter as the season advances. Over his last eight games, Tatis has five homers and two doubles for 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored.
He is the Padres. And the Padres right now don’t expect him to be out long, possibly returning in time for Monday’s opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
So, yes, completing a four-game sweep of the Reds Sunday would be nice. But big picture …
Well, the Reds could certainly use a win Sunday. Not just to salvage something from their visit to Petco Park but to keep Luis Castillo on the right path.
The right-handed Castillo (2-9, 5.83 ERA) will oppose San Diego right-hander Dinelson Lamet (1-2, 3.33).
It’s been a rough season for the Reds’ Opening Day starter. He has worked 71 innings in 14 starts, giving up 54 runs (46 earned) on 77 hits and 30 walks with 67 strikeouts. Opposing hitters are batting .275 against Castillo. His WHIP is 1.507.
May was particularly hard on the Reds’ former ace. He was 0-6 with an 8.04 ERA. Overall, the Reds are 3-11 in Castillo’s 14 starts. But they won his last outing when he shut out the Milwaukee Brewers on three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings.
Was that a sign that Castillo is rounding into past form? In 2019, he was 15-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 32 starts. In the 2020 abbreviated season, Castillo had a 3.21 ERA.
“He’s done if for so long for us, you stay with him,” Reds manager David Bell recently said of Castillo. “We’re going to need him.”
They need him on Sunday. Not only had the Reds won six straight coming into San Diego, they had an 11-2 record over a 13-game stretch.
As for the Padres, Lamet has only pitched into the sixth inning once in seven starts. And the Padres’ short-handed bullpen was responsible for seven innings Saturday.
“We had relievers unavailable today,” said Tingler, who also lost Pierce Johnson to the injured list.
Lamet, who entered the season with limitations due to late-season elbow issues in 2020, has begun to lengthen out his starts and go more to his wipeout slider.
In his last start, Lamet gave up one run on four hits and two walks with three strikeouts in four innings against the Rockies in Colorado.
–Field Level Media