Right-hander Chris Paddack will seek to continue the San Diego Padres' winning ways while establishing himself as a strong early-season pitcher when he faces the host San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.
The Padres opened the three-game series between National League West rivals with a 5-3 victory on Tuesday, spoiling the Giants' home opener. San Diego claimed its fourth win in five tries.
Paddack (1-0, 0.00) ignited the Padres' fast start with six shutout innings in a 7-2 home win over Arizona on Friday. He limited the Diamondbacks to four hits.
The 24-year-old made a name for himself early last season as well, going 2-1 with a 1.91 ERA over six starts in March and April.
A rookie at the time, Paddack pitched well against the Giants last season, going 1-0 against them with a 2.65 ERA in three starts. The lone win came at San Francisco's Oracle Park, where he went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two outings.
Coincidentally, Paddack went up against Madison Bumgarner in the former Giants standout's debut for the Diamondbacks last week. This time, he'll be up against San Francisco's new ace, right-hander Johnny Cueto (0-0, 2.25).
Paddack admitted on the eve of the season that his club, despite finishing in last place in the NL West a year ago, has its eye on the postseason in the shortened 2020 season.
"We've had this talk as a group: The champagne tastes the same," he said of the 60-game campaign. "I think this year, it's going to be the hardest to win, because you have to be so disciplined, not only on the field, but off the field. As a team, I think we're ready."
Cueto was pulled after just four innings on Thursday against the Los Angeles Dodgers despite the fact he had allowed just one run and thrown just 63 pitches.
The Giants went on to lose the game 8-1. Cueto was charged with one run on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
The 34-year-old veteran has had more than his fair share of success against the Padres, compiling an 8-4 lifetime mark with a 3.30 ERA in 15 starts.
One reason for Cueto's nice numbers against San Diego has been his ability to neutralize Padres slugger Wil Myers, whose two-run homer proved to be the difference in Tuesday's game. It was Myers' 10th career long ball at San Francisco's waterfront park.
Myers has gone just 3-for-22 (.136) in his career against Cueto, with just one homer and two RBIs.
On Wednesday, Cueto will attempt to become the first Giants starter to see the sixth inning, but understands that's new manager Gabe Kapler's call.
"In my 12 years in baseball, this is the first time I'm seeing this," he said of Kapler's reluctance to allow a starter to go a third time through the lineup. "It's uncomfortable. As a pitcher, you want to face the lineup as many times as possible. Then again, it's something you have to get used to and adapt to it. That's what life is."
--Field Level Media