Crazy things are happening in this unpredictable 60-game Major League Baseball season.
For example, the San Diego Padres host the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Petco Park. The two teams opened the season with a four-game series at Petco Park, meaning they meet only once more this season . . . next weekend at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Meaning that less than halfway into the shortened season, the National League West rivals will be done with one another.
And just two days ago, tonight’s series opener looked to be a pitching rematch of the season’s fourth game — left-hander Joey Lucchesi starting for the Padres against Arizona right-hander Luke Weaver.
Well, Weaver will be facing the Padres a second time.
But Lucchesi is not only not starting in his regular No. 4 spot in the Padres rotation, he’s not currently on the major-league roster. Lucchesi and outfielder-designated hitter Josh Naylor were dispatched to the Padres alternate camp Thursday as major league teams trimmed their rosters to 28 players.
There were strong hints regarding Lucchesi’s status as early as Monday when Padres manager Jayce Tingler listed Friday night’s starter as TBA. On Wednesday night, Tingler announced the Padres were skipping Lucchesi and going to No. 5 starter Zach Davies for the opener against the Diamondbacks — setting up the possibility that top-of-the-rotation starters Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet would get a second shot at the Diamondbacks on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Davies will be facing the Diamondbacks for the first time this season. The right-hander is 1-1 after his first two starts, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in 10 innings.
The 6-foot, 27-year-old Davies was acquired with starting center fielder Trent Grisham from Milwaukee during the offseason in exchange for rookie second baseman Luis Urias and left-handed starting pitcher Eric Lauer. He has a 3-2 career record in five starts against the Diamondbacks with a 4.13 earned run average and a 1.235 WHIP. He has given up 15 runs (13 earned) to the Diamondbacks on 26 hits and nine walks against 14 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
“I love the way Zach competes,” Tingler said during spring training. “He works the plate and the count. He knows how to spot pitches and doesn’t beat himself.”
Meanwhile, Lucchesi had an 8.44 ERA in his first two starts of 2020 — giving up five runs on 11 hits and two walks in just 5 1/3 innings. The Padres won his first start on July 27 against Arizona. But he lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits, a walk and a hit batter.
Weaver gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks in just 3 1/3 innings in the same game and was tagged with the loss. The 26-year-old is 0-2 after his first two starts of 2020 with a 14.73 ERA and a 2.592 WHIP — giving up 12 runs on 14 hits and five walks with 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.
But the Diamondbacks are 4-5 since leaving San Diego the first time. And they are coming off two straight wins against Houston, capped by Thursday’s 5-4 walk-off victory on Kole Calhoun’s two-run double in the bottom of the ninth.
“Good wins can lead to good runs,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re playing better with two straight wins over a good team.”
–Field Level Media