Reds actually want to see brooms come out in San Diego

Field Level Media

The sweepee could become the sweeper Sunday at Petco Park in San Diego.

Cincinnati, swept in three of its first six series this season, enters Sunday's series finale against the Padres having won the each of the first three games.

The situation for San Diego extends beyond losing three straight to the Reds, who came to San Diego with a 5-12 record and on a four-game losing streak. The Padres have lost six straight, including five straight at home, where their record is 4-8. And after an 11-5 start, the Padres are 11-11.

Sunday afternoon's matchup will pair left-hander Joey Lucchesi (2-2, 5.06 ERA) against Reds right-hander Tyler Mahle (0-1, 2.65), whose name -- appropriately given the circumstances -- rhymes with rally.

Mahle, 24, will make his fourth start of the season and his third career start against the Padres.

In his first two starts this season, Mahle gave up one run on seven hits and four walks with 12 strikeouts in 11 innings. But last Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, Mahle gave up four runs on 11 hits in six innings as his ERA shot up from 0.82 to 2.65.

Mahle faced the Padres twice last year during his rookie season and was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA, allowing two runs on 10 hits and five walks with 10 strikeouts in eight innings. The only Padre hitter who had much success against Mahle was catcher Austin Hedges, who hit a two-run homer accounting for both Padres runs.

Mahle was 7-9 last season with a 4.98 ERA.

The Padres' 25-year-old Lucchesi is in his second major league season.

He opened this season by allowing seven hits and three walks with 13 strikeouts over 10 1/3 scoreless innings in his first two starts -- both wins. But he is 0-2 in his last two starts while giving up 12 runs on 14 hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in 11 innings.

"We still like what we're seeing from him," Padres manager Andy Green told the media recently of Lucchesi. "Overall, we have to feel good about how the rotation has gone. We like the way Joey's approached the season. He has commanded the ball a lot better than he ever has. It always goes back to the same thing with him, fill up the strike zone, eliminate the walks and attack hitters.

"The outing in San Francisco (seven runs on seven hits in four innings) was a little misleading. Most those hits weren't hit very hard and several just found openings."

In his last start, however, Lucchesi surrendered homers to Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond of the Rockies.

Lucchesi will be facing the Reds for the first time in his career on Sunday. He has a 7-6 record with a 3.74 ERA, a 1.308 WHIP and a .252 opponents' batting average in 19 career starts at Petco Park -- where he has 105 strikeouts in 96 1/3 innings.

The Reds will be seeking a second series sweep of the season Sunday.

"We're playing better baseball," said Reds' manager David Bell. "Even with the rough start we had, I saw some good signs and now we're building on those."

--Field Level Media

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