Padres, Rockies still motivated as season dwindles

Field Level Media

September 18, 2023 at 2:04 pm.

The San Diego Padres will open their final homestand of the disappointing 2023 season Monday night riding their longest winning streak of the season.

Four games.

The Padres (72-78) reached that high Sunday by sweeping a three-game series against the Athletics as San Diego manager Bob Melvin returned to Oakland for the first time since he completed an 11-season run as the A’s manager in 2021.

Now he is back in San Diego for a six-game homestand with three games against National League West rival Colorado followed by three against the St. Louis Cardinals.

While the Padres are coming off a 6-3 trip with games against the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and A’s, the Rockies had a season-best, five-game winning streak snapped Sunday with an 11-10 loss to the San Francisco Giants, Still, the Rockies are 8-16 over the past 24 games.

Both managers in the Rockies-Padres series are hoping for strong finishes to losing seasons, although Melvin probably is shooting higher than Colorado’s Bud Black.

“The goal now is to win games, because this has been a disappointing season for us,” Melvin said Sunday in Oakland. “Win every game. There were a lot of expectations here, and we haven’t lived up to them. So we have to continue to play hard and win as many games as we can.”

As for the Rockies’ Black: “I like some of the things we’ve been doing recently,” he said. “The goal of any team at this point in the season is to finish strong.”

Colorado (56-93) will send Ty Blach (3-1, 4.64 ERA) to mound in the series opener at San Diego. The left-hander has a 2-0 record through three starts this month, but he hasn’t been overly convincing, compiling a 6.75 ERA in that span.

He made his season debut against the Padres on April 1, allowing two runs in a three-inning relief appearance. In 13 career outings (five starts) against San Diego, Blach is 1-3 with a 5.44 ERA.

The Padres will counter with Michael Wacha (11-3, 3.43 ERA).

The right-hander will make his 22nd start but will face the Rockies for only the second time this season. He started against Colorado on April 1, getting the win despite giving up four runs on six hits and three walks and two strikeouts in six innings.

Wacha is 2-2 lifetime against Colorado with a 5.31 ERA in 39 innings over eight games (seven starts).

Wacha is coming off one of his worst starts of the season. On Tuesday, he gave up seven runs on seven hits (including two home runs) and three walks with three strikeouts over four innings in a road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He is 0-2 over his past two starts against the Philadelphia Phillies and the Dodgers, having allowed 10 runs on 14 hits and six walks with nine strikeouts in just eight innings as his ERA ballooned from 2.85 to 3.43.

The Padres will send their three remaining rotation regulars against the Rockies: Wacha, Cy Young Award candidate Blake Snell and Seth Lugo.

San Diego leads the season series 6-4.

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