The Padres have already lost the series against the Pirates, combining for just two runs over the past two nights. This afternoon they will try to avoid the sweep as they hope for a better outing from Ian Kennedy. The newest Padre is coming off his worst start and first loss since joining the team. Last Friday against the Mets he struck out seven batters but gave up seven hits (including three home runs) and four walks, which translated to five runs in his 4 2/3 innings of work. His 1-1 record over his first three starts as a Padre match his career record vs. the Pirates, against whom he's made four starts while posting a 3.75 ERA.
Pittsburgh's offense collected eight runs on nine hits against San Diego pitching last night. Neil Walker went 2-for-4 with a home run and three runs scored. He is a lifetime 6-for-12 with two homers against Kennedy. Garrett Jones has yet to collect a hit in five at-bats against San Diego (including three last night), but against Kennedy he is 5-for-7 all-time with a home run. They'll try to help lead their team today to its first sweep of the Padres in ten years.
The Pirates look to keep the offense firing today in support of rookie Gerrit Cole as they try to protect their first-place spot in the NL Central. Cole, who continues to be monitored for innings in hopes that he can be an asset out of the bullpen in the postseason, will be making his first career outing against San Diego. Last Friday, pitching on eight days' rest, he earned his first win in four starts as he limited the Diamondbacks to two runs in six innings of work. In the three-game stretch prior to that, he had gone 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA.
Cole will be facing a Padres offense that, as stated before, was limited to just two runs while dropping the first two games of the series. They are 4-10 over their last 14 games, 11 of which have seen them score three runs or fewer. Will Venable went 1-for-4 last night after ending his career-high 15-game hitting streak the night before. Jedd Gyorko, who is hitting .250 in August, was responsible for the Padres' only run last night as he hit his 14th home run of the season. Six of his homers this season have occured in August, as well as 11 of his 37 RBI.
Catch the series finale between Pittburgh and San Diego this afternoon at 3:40.