San Diego looks to push its record to a game above .500 this month and hold onto first place in the NL West.
Baltimore Orioles at San Diego Padres
Baltimore held a 2-1 lead on Friday night heading into the bottom of the ninth, only to see the Padres rally for a 3-2 victory behind 1B Adrian Gonzalez’s bases loaded single. The club has converted just 47.8 percent of its save opportunities, the lowest percentage in the major leagues. The Orioles have now lost 18 of their last 21 games, being outscored 127-50 over that span. Friday’s loss also dropped the club to 2-8 in interleague play this year. In facing a left-handed starter tonight, Baltimore’s offense will be paced by OF Nick Markakis, who leads all left-handed batters in baseball with a .375 batting average against them. The club has been outscored 65-28 in their last 12 road games, as they are 8-37 in their last 45 games away from Camden Yards.
SP Kevin Milwood is 0-8 with a 5.16 ERA in 14 starts this season (-440), with most of his troubles coming in the first inning. The right-hander has allowed 57 runs this season, with 15 of those coming in the first frame. In his last four starts, Milwood has given up three runs twice and two runs in the other to outings to put Baltimore behind early. He has also served up a major league-high 19 home runs this year, but may benefit from starting in a pitcher’s park tonight. In 14 career starts against the Padres, the veteran is 6-1 with a 2.95 ERA (+440), including a five-game winning streak. Milwood’s only start at Petco Park came back on August 5, 2004, allowing two earned runs on four his and a walk in two innings of a no-decision.
San Diego continues a nine-game interleague homestand with the second of three straight against Baltimore. Last night’s win marked the Padres eighth walk-off win of the season and their 10th win in their last at-bat. “When you play close games, you’re always in it,” said manager Bud Black. “We have done it before. We never get down.” The pitching staff has been brilliant all season, recording 525 strikeouts this season and 206 walks, which leads to the best strikeout/walk ratio in the National League. A major player in that figure is RP Luke Gregerson, who has not allowed a walk in his past 110 batters. 1B Adrian Gonzalez is doing his part in the middle of the lineup, hitting safely in 15 of his last 18 games, going 28-for-69 (.406) over that stretch.
Padres SP Clayton Richard is 4-3 with a 2.71 ERA over 13 starts this season (-120), including notching six quality starts since May 12 with a 2.25 ERA and a 3-1 record. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 2.78 ERA in six interleague starts, tallying a 1-0 record and 1.40 ERA in two outings versus the AL with San Diego. Richard won his only previous start against Baltimore, allowing three runs over six innings of a 4-3 win for the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards in 2008. The Padres are 1-3 in his last four starts, providing only five runs of support (1.67 rpg).
A winless pitcher on the hill and a 7-28 (-1,670) mark on the road leaves little to be desired in backing the Baltimore Orioles. The team is also just 5-19 (-1,240) against left-handed pitching this season, with the offense managing a .235 batting average. If anything, San Diego has flattened out in June with an even 8-8 record (+160), which is a usual pattern with the team going 27-42 (-1,240) the past three years during the month.