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An important start for Padres MacKenzie Gore

MacKenzie Gore is set to make his first road start, with a Mike Clevinger return looming.

Cincinnati Reds v San Diego Padres Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

San Diego Padres top LHP prospect MacKenzie Gore is set to make his third major league start vs the Cincinnati Reds. Even though this is just start number three for Gore. This will be the second go against the Reds.

Last outing Gore went 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO. But, most importantly, Gore completed the first and only sweep for the Padres in the first month of this season.

This is a very important start for Gore in which it will be his first test on the road. Well to be honest a road test at Great American Ball Park is no contest compared to a road test at Petco Park. Last night’s game only reached 24% capacity equally around 10,000 in attendance. The environment won’t be hostile, but the way the ball jumps out in Cincinnati will make up for some of that element.

Elephant in the room, starting pitcher Mike Clevinger is on his way back with the team and is set to join the Padres by next week. Translation: an impressive start tonight by Gore can really handcuff this team from moving him out of the starting rotation and put that pressure on Nick Martinez instead. As of now, it seems like an easy decision for the Padres but with three options for Gore, it’s not guaranteed if he doesn’t shine again tonight.

What to watch

We saw Gore lower his fastball rate by 8% from start one to start two and threw double the amount of sliders from game one to game two. I would keep an eye on the usage of the offspeed in Gore’s arsenal as he gets more comfortable on the big stage.

Not one batter in the Reds lineup had the success of recoding two hits off Gore in the previous matchup. Hopefully, the success from last Wednesday can carry over to tonight and we see some of those same results. A win would clinch another Padres series victory and the ability to play for a sweep tomorrow.