The San Diego Padres scored a big win Monday night, but they also sustained a bigger loss in the opener of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.
For the visiting Rockies, it was just a tough defeat.
The teams return to Petco Park on Tuesday night for their penultimate meeting of the 2020 season.
The Rockies (20-21) need a win. The Padres (26-17) need Mitch Moreland to step up as their first baseman.
After San Diego’s 1-0, walk-off win on Monday night, the Padres learned that starter Eric Hosmer will miss at least two weeks — and likely more than a month — with a fractured left index finger. Hosmer sustained the injury when he was hit on the left hand by a Kyle Freeland pitch in the first inning Monday night while trying to bunt.
Hosmer has been a major part of the Padres’ offense this season. He is hitting .288 with eight homers and 32 RBIs. He ranked fourth in the National League in RBIs entering Monday despite missing 11 of the team’s first 14 games due to gastritis.
The Padres acquired Moreland from the Boston Red Sox just ahead of the trade deadline to serve as their left-handed designated hitter. But Moreland, who is off to a 2-for-19 start with the Padres, is now the heir apparent at first. Catcher Austin Nola and rookie second baseman Jake Cronenworth can also play there, if necessary.
The bigger question for San Diego will be at designated hitter. The Padres traded DH-type bats in Ty France, Josh Naylor and Edward Olivares at the deadline and lost Luis Campusano to the injured list on Sunday with a left wrist sprain.
And the hole that suddenly appeared in the Padres’ lineup is at the No. 4 slot … and at the heart of the club’s upbeat mojo.
“We’re hoping Hos won’t be away long,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said after Monday’s game, “and he won’t be far away at all. He’s going to travel with us because he’s so important to the personality and makeup of this ballclub.”
Meanwhile, the Monday night loss dropped the Rockies from No. 7 to No. 9 in the multi-team race to fill the final slots in the National League playoffs.
“The importance of every game is growing,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “The players can feel it, they see it. We have only a third of the short season ahead of us. We’ve been showing signs. It’d be great to get on a bit of a run to build a little cushion because, if you get there, anything can happen in the playoffs.”
The Padres have a 5-3 edge on the Rockies with the remaining two games at Petco Park, where San Diego is 13-6 this season.
On Tuesday in a match of right-handers, Mike Clevinger (1-2, 3.14 ERA) will make his second start for the Padres — as well as his Petco Park debut — against the Rockies’ Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-0, 5.00).
The 6-foot-3, 28-year-old Gonzalez will be making his fourth appearance and second start for the Rockies this season. One of his three previous 2020 outings was a four-inning effort against the Padres on Aug. 30 when he allowed one run on two hits and a walk with three strikeouts in four innings.
Overall, Gonzalez has a 4.85 ERA in three appearances (two starts) against the Padres, giving up seven runs on 14 hits and eight walks with 11 strikeouts in 13 innings.
Clevinger allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts over six innings in his Padres debut on Sept. 3 against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
–Field Level Media