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Yu Darvish, Padres try to dodge sweep by Cardinals

May 21, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) holds a ball in the dugout during the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The sputtering San Diego Padres hope to elevate their offense Wednesday to avoid getting swept by the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Padres lost the first two games of the series at St. Louis 6-3 and 3-2 (in 10 innings) while striking out 26 times. They have scored just 17 runs in their past seven games, losing five times in that span.

“We’ll keep fighting,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “We feel like we’re in every game. … Offensively we haven’t been great. We know that. And you look at our record in close games: It’s still pretty good.

“The starting pitchers are definitely holding up their end of the bargain. We just need to get going a little more offensively.”

Their frustration boiled over Tuesday when third baseman Manny Machado and Melvin were ejected in the sixth inning by plate umpire Chris Segal. Machado threw his bat and helmet after a called third strike, and Melvin argued on his behalf.

Melvin held Eric Hosmer out of Tuesday’s starting lineup, but the veteran first baseman figures to start on Wednesday.

“Normal day off. He’s been going at it pretty hard,” Melvin said. “Try to semi-schedule days off for guys, but as productive as he’s been, it’s hard to with him. But it gets to the point where everybody needs a day off.”

The Padres will face Cardinals starting pitcher Dakota Hudson, who will attempt to continue his career success at Busch Stadium.

Hudson (3-2, 3.22 ERA) is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in four starts there this season. In his short career, the 27-year-old is 14-3 with a 2.27 ERA in 40 games at home, including 26 starts.

The Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 at home on Friday in Hudson’s latest start. However, the right-hander threw 97 pitches and lasted just 4 2/3 innings — even though he didn’t yield a run.

“I don’t think I’m anywhere near the result (I went),” Hudson said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Maybe you (could) see the anger on my face when I came off the mound. You’ve got to hold yourself to a standard. I’m getting there, but sometimes it’s just irritating in the process.”

Hudson’s only career start against the Padres went badly: He allowed seven runs (one earned) on five hits in 1 2/3 innings on June 29, 2019.

Yu Darvish (4-2, 3.76 ERA) draws the start for the Padres. He took a hard-luck 2-1 loss to the Brewers in his latest outing, allowing two runs on just three hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings on May 25. He struck out seven.

Darvish has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his nine 2022 starts. He had a 3.08 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over four starts in May.

“He’s been so phenomenal lately,” catcher Austin Nola said, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. “We’ve got to pick that guy up. He’s keeping us in every game. He’s into the seventh inning with his best stuff still. We’ve got to do a better job for him.”

Darvish is 2-2 with a 2.64 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals. He has struggled against Corey Dickerson (5-for-13, two doubles, homer), Tommy Edman (6-for-16), and Nolan Arenado (5-for-16, two homers, six RBIs) in the past.

–Field Level Media