The Padres have lost their first series since April 23rd and find themselves trying to avoid a sweep today in the finale in St. Petersburg. Tampa Bay are now winners of four straight games, but Eric Stults will try to put a halt to their momentum in his first career outing against the Rays. Stults has pitched a couple of solid starts coming into today's matchup. Over his last two games, he's kept opponents to three runs in 13 innings of work.
He'll have to find a way to quiet Evan Longoria's bat. The third baseman led the Rays to a walkoff victory with his two-run homer off Huston Street yesterday. Over a 14-game stretch, Longoria is batting .424 and has driven in 15 runs. But he's not the only dangerous bat in Tampa Bay's lineup. As a team, the Rays are averaging 6.6 runs per game, hitting .279 (including 17 home runs) in their last 13 games.
On the other hand, despite scoring seven runs yesterday, the Padres offense has struggled at the plate lately. They've racked up 39 strikeouts through three games. Nick Hundley, who had an impressive April campaign, has struck out seven times in his last 20 at-bats. Carlos Quentin has whiffed four times in his last six at-bats and has gotten only one hit (a home run) in his last 24.
Quentin, however, has had some past success against today's opponent, going 3-for-9 all-time with two homers off Roberto Hernandez. Hernandez has been solid at home this season. In two starts at the Trop, he's collected 14 strikeouts while limiting opponents to just two runs through 12 innings. This will be his first time facing San Diego.