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Ailing Padres aim to bounce back against Phillies

Aug 26, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  San Diego Padres pitcher Pedro Avila (60) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Under normal circumstances, the Philadelphia Phillies might have faced Padres right-handers Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish during the current series in San Diego.

These aren’t normal times, though. Both Musgrove and Darvish are on the injured list — Musgrove due to right shoulder capsule inflammation and Darvish because of right elbow inflammation.

Thus, the Padres started 43-year-old left-hander Rich Hill on Monday with disastrous results. They will go with right-hander Pedro Avila (0-2, 2.67 ERA) on Tuesday night when they oppose the Phillies and right-hander Michael Lorenzen (8-8, 3.73).

Lorenzen fired a no-hitter in his second start for the Phillies, walking four and striking out five in a 7-0 victory over the Washington Nationals on Aug. 9.

However, the 31-year-old veteran, whom the Phillies acquired from the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline for minor league infielder Hao-Yu Lee — has struggled in his three starts since his 124-pitch gem, even though Phillies manager Rob Thomson gave him an extra three days of rest ahead of his next start following the no-hitter.

Lorenzen has surrendered 15 runs (13 earned) on 24 hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts in 15 innings during the three-start slump. He yielded five home runs while pitching to a 7.80 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP.

“He hasn’t been quite as sharp,” Thomson said. “He’s been missing spots. He hasn’t gotten ahead like he normally does, and he hasn’t finished off innings. I’m not really concerned about him. I think he’ll snap out of it.”

Thomson added that there could be some carryover from the no-hitter, particularly for a pitcher who has spent most of his career as a reliever.

“Usually there is for pitchers who do something like that (no-hitter),” the skipper said.

Avila will face a low bar while trying to improve on the performance of Hill, who was tagged for six runs on seven hits in 1 1/3 innings on Monday during Philadelphia’s 9-7 win.

Avila, 26, has pitched very well at times since being recalled from Triple-A El Paso in late July. At first, the rookie was the reliever piggybacking with Hill, and he had a 0.95 ERA in 19 innings through six relief appearances. In three starts, however, he is 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA.

“The numbers are a little deceiving on Pedro,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s pitched very well. More a bad inning than a bad outing.”

Meanwhile, the Padres being down to Michael Wacha, Blake Snell and Seth Lugo as rotation regulars makes it hard to get something going. The Phillies snapped the Padres’ latest three-game winning streak Monday. The Padres have yet to win four straight games this season.

Philadelphia has won two in a row and nine of 13. The Phillies are 4-1 against the Padres this season and have clinched the season series.

The Padres have not faced Lorenzen since 2019. He has opposed San Diego 14 times in his career, 12 times out of the bullpen, while compiling a 1-2 mark, a 5.47 ERA and a 1.329 WHIP with 29 strikeouts against 10 walks in 26 1/3 innings.

Avila will be facing the Phillies for the first time in his career.

–Field Level Media

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