Lauer, Padres look for sweep of D-backs

Field Level Media

"Sweep" isn't a word the San Diego Padres have heard much around Petco Park this season.

They do have one home sweep -- a two-game interleague blitz of the Seattle Mariners on April 23-24. But the Padres' overall home record is 13-14 this season, and they lost three of four at Petco Park last weekend to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

However, they go into the Wednesday afternoon finale of a three-game series against Arizona with a chance to sweep the Diamondbacks.

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The Padres set up those possibilities with back-to-back, one-run wins over Arizona -- 2-1 Monday night on Franmil Reyes' two-run homer and 3-2 Tuesday night on Eric Hosmer's two-run homer.

In what could be a soggy Wednesday, the Padres will send out second-year left-hander Eric Lauer (2-4, 5.24 ERA) against Diamondbacks rookie right-hander Merrill Kelly (4-4, 4.21 ERA). Both pitchers will be making their 10th start of the season.

Lauer, who was one of three first-round picks the Padres had in the 2016 draft, will be making his fifth career start against the Diamondbacks. Overall, the 6-foot-3, 23-year-old Lauer is 1-2 against Arizona with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.64 WHIP and a .344 opponents' batting average.

He is 0-2 against the Diamondbacks in two starts this season, giving up seven runs on 17 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in 10 innings for a 6.30 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP.

Lauer allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in his most recent outing, Thursday against the Pirates.

"Eric's success is always predicated on his fastball command and his aggression and pitching ahead in the count," Padres manager Andy Green said. "That's always first and foremost with him. A truer mix at times is probably a beneficial thing, too.

"And he has to control his luck. There are always going to be times when a flare falls in. That's when you find a way to get out of it."

Lauer threw a season-high 105 pitches vs. Pittsburgh while pitching more than five innings for only the fourth time this season.

"We need Lauer and (Joey) Lucchesi to start going deeper into games to take the extra workload off our bullpen," Green said.

Kelly, 30, returned to the United State this season after pitching four seasons in South Korea.

He made his big-league debut on April 1 against the Padres at Petco Park and picked up the win, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts in six innings.

"That night will stick in my mind forever," Kelly said. "It was always a dream when I was in Korea to return and pitch in the major leagues. At times is looked pretty far away."

He is 1-0 in two starts against the Padres this season, allowing seven runs on 13 hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in 11 innings for a 5.73 ERA and 1.46 WHIP.

Overall, Kelly has allowed 55 hits and 18 walks with 40 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings. He has a .271 opponents' batting average and a 1.42 WHIP.

--Field Level Media

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