MLB: Padres look to exorcise Denver demons in series opener
The San Diego Padres have lost 13 of their past 14 games in Colorado, including six of seven at Coors Field this season, but they are only looking ahead to the opener of a three-game series on Friday night in Denver.
San Diego (83-67) has won five of its past six games overall to maintain its grip on the National League’s second wild-card spot. The Padres remain in prime position to make their first playoff appearance following a full regular season since 2006.
“It’s a little different environment for us in that every game feels like the last game,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “I don’t think you go in thinking about what happened earlier in the season or what the track record is in any particular place, it’s just putting our best foot forward. We feel good about where we are as a team right now.”
San Diego saw its five-game winning streak end with a 5-4 loss to the visiting St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday afternoon. The Padres had combined to allow just one run in the four games leading up to the series finale against the Cardinals.
Sean Manaea wasn’t part of the string of recent quality starts by San Diego, but the left-hander is the lone Padres pitcher to win a game in Denver this season.
Manaea (7-9, 5.18 ERA) allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-5 win at Colorado on July 11.
The victory ended a 10-game losing streak for San Diego at Coors Field, but the Padres lost the next three games in the series to begin a new skid.
Except for Manaea, the starting pitchers for San Diego in the other six games in Coors Field this season have had a rough time, combining for an 0-3 record and a 9.76 ERA.
The Rockies (64-86) are coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the visiting San Francisco Giants.
Colorado elicited some excitement, however, when it promoted shortstop Ezequiel Tovar from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday.
Tovar, MLB.com’s No. 28 overall prospect, did not make it into a 3-0 loss to the Giants in the series finale, but the 21-year-old Venezuelan is expected to make his major league debut in the opener against San Diego on Friday.
If he does, Tovar would become the youngest position player in club history.
Colorado manager Bud Black has not seen Tovar play since spring training, but he liked what he saw.
“I saw a young player who looked confident, who looked excited, ready to be in big-league camp,” Black said. “I saw an everyday readiness when he practiced, albeit short because of the lockout. He looked very determined and comfortable. When games started, he looked very comfortable and confident and talented.”
The Rockies are planning to start Ryan Feltner on the mound.
Feltner (3-8, 6.05 ERA) pitched one of his best games of the season in San Diego on June 11. He gave up one run on two hits over six innings but didn’t get any run support and the Rockies lost 2-1 in 10 innings.
In two career starts against the Padres — both this season — Feltner holds a 3.72 ERA and a pair of no-decisions.
He earned a win in his latest outing, giving three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings during a 4-3 road victory against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
–Field Level Media