The San Diego Padres have not found a safe haven in a disappointing start to their season. They entered the year as one of the National League favorites, but 62 games in, they have a losing record at home and on the road.
The Padres can take comfort in the fact that in the past three full seasons, the champion of the National League had a losing record at some point in June. Still, San Diego wants to turn things around soon, starting on Friday night with the opener of a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.
San Diego will send right-hander Yu Darvish (4-4, 4.10 ERA) to the mound to oppose lefty Austin Gomber (4-4, 6.99) in the opener.
The Padres have alternated losses and wins over their past 10 games to remain stuck in fourth place in the NL West.
"There's 100 games left -- that's a lot of baseball," San Diego manager Bob Melvin said after his team's 10-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. "We have plenty of time to get where we want to go. We have to understand that, and our guys do understand that.
"It's going to be more games like this. We have the ability -- offensively, defensively, pitching-wise -- to go on a roll."
It could begin with a solid start from Darvish on Friday night. In 11 career starts against Colorado, he is 3-4 with a 5.37 ERA. Five of those outings came in Denver, where he is 1-1 with a 5.26 ERA.
Darvish is coming off his best outing of the season, as he fired seven shutout innings and struck out nine in a 6-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
The Rockies enter the weekend on the heels of being swept in a three-game series by the visiting San Francisco Giants as part of a four-game losing streak. Colorado squandered a 4-0 lead in a 5-4 loss on Wednesday, then blew a 4-1 edge in a 6-4 defeat Thursday.
Gomber has struggled in eight home starts this season, going 2-2 with an 8.46 ERA. He is coming off his second-shortest outing of the season, lasting just 2 2/3 innings at Kansas City on Saturday, but Colorado rallied to win that game.
Gomber has faced the Padres once this season, when he went six innings and allowed three runs in a 3-1 loss on April 2. He is 2-2 with a 2.41 ERA in 10 career appearances, six starts, against San Diego.
The Rockies could use a solid outing from Gomber to help take some burden off of an overworked bullpen. Dinelson Lamet's three-inning start on Tuesday night forced manager Bud Black to cycle through five relievers, and the Rockies used three relievers on Wednesday and four on Thursday.
Jake Bird has been the busiest pitcher out of the bullpen, having tossed 41 1/3 innings in 30 appearances. But the 27-year-old right-hander said he isn't concerned about his usage.
"I think it's just kind of the same stuff I've been doing since college where I really got to learn about what it takes to take care of your body," Bird said. "Just doing the arm care, the shoulder-strengthening stuff, learning how to take it easy."
--Field Level Media