The Padres are .500 after the All-Star Break thanks to solid performances on both offense and defense in last night series opener at Miller Park. They'll try to clinch at least a series split tonight while welcoming Tyson Ross back to the rotation for the start opposite Milwaukee rookie Donovan Hand.
Ross began the season as the fifth member of the rotation, but hasn't started a big league game since April 17th. Since then, he's split time between the disabled list (for a strained left shoulder), the Padres bullpen (pitching in long relief while his injury kept him from hitting), and triple-A Tucson (to get his endurance back up before rejoining the big league rotation). Ross went 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in his three major league starts at the beginning of the season. He went 0-3 in 19 innings out of the 'pen before making two starts for the Tucson Padres, allowing two runs in a combined nine innings (132 total pitches).
The Padres offense will try to continue to provide run support for its pitching staff. They've scored 18 runs while going 2-2 in the four games since the All-Star Break. Will Venable will try to continue his hot hitting in Milwaukee, where he is batting a career .379 with six doubles, a triple, and a homer (13 RBI) in 18 games. Meanwhile Jesus Guzman will try to extend his road hitting streak again to 13 games.
Like Ross, Donovan Hand is making his fourth start of the season tonight after going 0-1 in his first three and being used mainly out of the bullpen this year. Twelve of his fifteen outings have been relief appearances and his last start was on July 4th, when he gave up three runs and issued three walks in five innings of work for a no-decision.
The Brewers continue to miss Ryan Braun's bat in the lineup. Without him, they've gone 13-24 and dropped to the NL Central cellar. Tonight they may also miss All Star Carlos Gomez, who will sit out his third straight game with a sore elbow. Replacing Braun and Gomez will likely be rookies Caleb Gindl and Logan Schafer. While Schafer has yet to get hot at home this season, hitting .190 at Miller Park, Gindl has gone .304 in eight home games. The pair combined for an 0-for-5 clip in last night's series opener.