The San Diego Padres envision prosperity by stars Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting prodigious home runs.
Both stars connected in a big way Friday night, and the Padres are hoping for more of the same Saturday afternoon in the second game of a three-game set against the host New York Yankees.
The Padres are 4-1 in their past five games following a 2-11 slide. They are seeking their first three-game winning streak since April 29-May 1 after Soto and Tatis highlighted Friday’s 5-1 win.
“It makes you feel good as a team,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “That’s what these guys do. We haven’t been great offensively, and we haven’t gotten off to some good starts with some of our big boys, but when you get some contributions like that and see how they can change the game, so quickly, it just gives you more confidence as a team.”
Soto hit a two-run homer halfway up the second deck in right field in the fifth inning after fouling a ball off his knee earlier in the at-bat. Soto has three of his 10 homers in the past six games and heads into Saturday hitting .356 (31-for-87) with six homers and 15 RBIs in his past 25 contests.
Tatis reached the second deck in left field with a two-run homer in the sixth. The right fielder heard boos Friday and hit his eighth bomb since returning from an 80-game PED suspension on April 20.
The Yankees are hoping to avoid their second four-game losing streak this year. Since carrying a 5-1 lead into the seventh inning Wednesday against Baltimore, the Yankees have been outscored 16-3.
“It’s just about us capitalizing when we get pitches over the plate, not trying to expand too much,” New York slugger Aaron Judge said. “Stay in our zones, stay in our lanes, and when we do that we’re a good offense.”
After getting three hits Thursday, the Yankees produced seven Friday but also struck out 11 times. The Yankees took the loss as manager Aaron Boone served a one-game suspension for his actions toward umpires in an ejection Thursday.
Right-hander Michael Wacha (5-1, 3.58 ERA) will start Saturday for the Padres. He has allowed one run over his past four starts and is 3-0 with a 0.36 ERA in those appearances. While opponents are hitting .230 against him this season, Wacha is holding hitters to a .129 (11-for-85) average over his past four outings after batting .311 against him in his first five outings.
Wacha is facing an American League opponent for the fourth straight time. He followed up starts against Minnesota and Kansas by allowing five hits in six innings of a 7-0 win over the visiting Boston Red Sox on Sunday. He threw 88 pitches.
Wacha is 2-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 career appearances (eight starts) against the Yankees. He spent the past two seasons pitching with Tampa Bay and Boston and was 2-0 with 1.82 ERA in seven outings (five starts) against the Yankees.
Right-hander Luis Severino (0-0, 1.93) will make his second start since returning from a right lat strain that cost him nearly two months to begin the season. Severino fell one out shy of qualifying for the win in Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon when he allowed one run on four hits and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings.
Severino is 8-2 with a 1.79 ERA in 16 career interleague appearances (14 starts), but Saturday is his first start against any NL West opponent.
–Field Level Media