07/07 Padres Preview: Game 89 @ Washington

Jim Rogash

The Padres will send the young lefty Robbie Erlin to the hill to go up against San Diego native Stephen Strasburg.

This Padres road trip started out promising with a win over the Marlins on June 28th. Since then, they've dropped eight straight games. Today in the 10th and final game of the trip, the Friars will get one last chance for a win before returning home to San Diego. Two young pitchers will battle it out on the mound in the finale at Nationals Park.

Rookie southpaw Robbie Erlin will get the ball for the Padres in his fourth career start. He ran into trouble his last time out when he was tagged for three runs and failed to escape the fourth inning. He faces the Nationals for the first time today as he tries to break San Diego out of their longest losing streak in two years.

The Padres offense has stepped up the production these past two games, but has been otherwise stymied by pitching on the road during their losing streak. After combining for seven total runs over the first six of their eight-game skid, they scored eleven in the first two games in Washington. Despite that, however, they still struggled to get runs home when they really needed to, hitting just 3-for-23 with runners in scoring position.

Today they'll face San Diego's own Stephen Strasburg, who despite his 4-6 record this season has been throwing the ball very well. He has a 1.29 ERA over his last nine starts and a 2.24 ERA on the year. He's already been tested against the Padres this season, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits in eight innings of work back in May at Petco Park.

Strasburg's bane this season has been a lack of run support. Over his last four starts (of which the Nationals have gone 1-3), he's gotten just four total runs of support from his offense. In his most recent outing, he held the Brewers to three hits while striking out eight in seven shutout innings, but his bullpen gave up four runs and the Nats couldn't put a single run on the board, meaning a no-decision for Strasburg.

The Padres dropped back into the NL West cellar after yesterday's loss and now sit 6 1/2 games out of first place. They really need this win to stay afloat and help them get back on track here in the second half of the season.

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