The San Diego Padres are on the cusp of tying franchise history.
A win Sunday will not only give the host Padres a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners, it will complete a 9-0 homestand. Only once before in franchise history have the Padres swept a nine-game homestand, doing so from May 15-24, 2009.
With eight straight wins and an 11-1 record over the past 12 games, the Padres have climbed into sole possession of first place in the National League West for the first time since the season’s third game.
But things are about to get much tougher for the Padres than the Mariners, who entered Sunday having lost five straight games and 10 of 13.
After Sunday’s game, the Padres fly to Milwaukee for a four-game series against a Brewers team that swept a three-game set in San Diego earlier this season. Then, it’s onto Houston and Chicago to face the Cubs to complete a 10-game road trip — and runs of 20 straight games and 33 games in a span of 34 games.
The Padres would so much like to get Sunday’s finale against the Mariners that they will send right-handed ace Yu Darvish (4-1, 1.81 ERA) to the mound against Mariners right-hander Justin Dunn (1-2, 3.63 ERA).
Both starters were late to the assignment. Padres manager Jayce Tingler, who likely will shift to a six-man rotation during next five weeks, was holding onto the to-be-announced card until Friday. And Seattle manager Scott Servais subbed Dunn for left-hander Yusei Kikuchi just before Saturday’s game.
Track records certainly favor the Padres on Sunday. However, San Diego could be without third baseman Manny Machado (shoulder stiffness) for a third straight game and center fielder Trent Grisham (sore heel) for a second straight game while awaiting the return of right fielder Wil Myers from Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 protocol.
“Both Manny and Grisham are feeling better today,” Tingler said Saturday. “Both would be playing at other times of the season. But with the schedule ahead of us, we’re using our depth as we’ve talked about. (Jake) Cronenworth, Manny and Grisham have done much of the heavier lifting for us over the last couple weeks. As we get more guys back, we can take a little load off them.”
Servais, meanwhile, is not looking that far ahead.
“We need a couple of wins to get back on track,” he said. “We were a couple hits in key situations short on Saturday.”
But Darvish is on a roll for the Padres. His ERA has fallen in seven of his past eight starts. He has given up as many as two runs only once in that stretch while riding a personal three-decision winning streak. The Padres are 8-1 when Darvish starts.
And over his past two starts, Darvish has allowed an unearned run on six hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts in 11 innings. He struck out 10 in seven shutout innings in his most recent start against the Colorado Rockies on May 17.
In 12 career starts against the Mariners, Darvish is 5-4 with 81 strikeouts against 34 walks with a 4.46 ERA in 74 2/3 innings.
Dunn has a 1.327 WHIP and a .189 opponents’ batting average in his seven starts. He has worked 34 2/3 innings, giving up 14 runs on 24 hits and 22 walks with 33 strikeouts. Dunn faced the Padres once, in 2020, giving up three runs on two hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings.
“His stuff is really good when he has command of his fastball and breaking ball,” Servais said.
–Field Level Media