Chris Young’s return could also provide a sudden lift.
Young takes the mound for the first time in five months as the spiraling Padres try to snap an 11-game losing streak at St. Louis on Saturday.
San Diego (82-65) appeared to be a virtual lock for the playoffs on Aug. 25, holding a 6 1/2-game lead atop the division. However, the Padres have gone 6-16 since, and trail San Francisco by one-half game while holding a one-game lead on third-place Colorado.
San Diego also is 1 1/2 games in back of wild card-leading Atlanta.
The Padres’ losing ways at Busch Stadium continued when they were routed 14-4 on Friday as rookie star Mat Latos(notes) was roughed up for eight runs in 1 1-3 innings. Another defeat Saturday would give San Diego the longest active skid against one opponent in the majors.
Young (1-0, 0.00 ERA) could be a key contributor for San Diego in the final two weeks of the regular season.
The right-hander will make his first start since April 6, when he allowed one hit in six innings of a 6-3 win at Arizona. That performance was his comeback from shoulder surgery, which cut his previous season short in June.
Young is now coming back from a shoulder strain.
He was an emerging star for the Padres in 2006, winning 11 games after getting a career-high 12 with Texas the previous season. However, his last three years have been plagued by injuries, and he’s expecting the latest return to be emotional.
“It will be there for sure, but I have to channel that and control the emotions,” Young told the team’s official website. “This was a goal of mine. But just going through it all and just being satisfied being out there isn’t enough. I’m not going to take it for granted.”
Young is 0-3 with a 3.92 ERA in four starts against the Cardinals, but hasn’t faced them since 2008.
The 24-year-old Garcia is being skipped to arm fatigue. Suppan’s last two appearances have come in relief, and the right-hander has allowed two runs and four hits in 2 2-3 innings.
Since rejoining St. Louis in June after being released by Milwaukee, Suppan is 1-5 with a 4.47 ERA in nine starts. The Cardinals, though, have given him a total of 11 runs to work with.
Suppan, who missed all of August with a groin injury, is 5-4 with a 5.75 ERA in 11 career starts versus the Padres.