05/07 Padres Preview: Game 35 vs. Royals

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Padres look to break past Shields and give Cashner some run support in this afternoon's Royals sendoff.

For the first time in eight tries all-time at Petco Park, the Royals were able to edge out our Padres, evening up the series and setting up the getaway-day rubber game for this afternoon. The two teams close out the three-game interleague series in San Diego, anchored by a very intriguing pitching matchup.

On one side will be Andrew Cashner - Padres ace and one of the more dominating pitchers in the league. The righty will take the mound for his eighth start of the year and try to build on an already impressive 2014. After four lights-out performances to start his season, including most notably a one-hit complete-game shutout against a tough Tigers team, Cashner regressed slightly, giving up four runs in six innings in back-to-back starts (both losses). But he looked great again his last time out, limiting Arizona to two runs in six innings.

Cashner has yet to throw fewer than six innings in a start this season, and San Diego hopes that trend will continue today as the bullpen tries to get some rest following consecutive extra-inning games. And hopefully a long outing outing from Cashner can be rewarded with some run support from a still-struggling (though seemingly improving) Padres offense. They haven't been able to provide a single run of support for their no. 1 pitcher in four of his seven starts this season, including each of his last two. Today will be his first career appearance against Kansas City.

Going for the Royals will be James Shields, who has been brilliant on the road this season, earning each of his three wins on the year away from home. Going even further back, Shields is on par with Adam Wainwright and C.J. Wilson for most road victories since the beginning of 2013. Over his last 17 starts as a visiting pitcher Shields is 12-1 with a 1.82 ERA.

Today he looks to keep up his road dominance against the league's worst-hitting team in San Diego. The Padres' abysmal batting average this year was made even worse over this stretch of 2-5 baseball they're on, during which they've been hitting an embarrassing .181 against opponents.

Take an extended lunch break today to enjoy some day baseball and see how the series plays out at 12:40 PDT.

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