Something has to give as Padres conclude series in Oakland

MLB

One pitcher who has excelled on the road this season duels another who has been dominant at home when the San Diego Padres and host Oakland Athletics conclude their three-game interleague series on Sunday afternoon.

Padres right-hander Garrett Richards (1-2, 4.63 ERA) and A’s righty Mike Fiers (4-1, 4.86) are the scheduled starters on the final day of a series that has had two one-sided results, with San Diego (24-17) winning 7-0 on Friday before Oakland (23-13) rebounded with an 8-4 triumph on Saturday.

Richards has just one win this season, but that belies the fact he has allowed either zero or one run in four of eight starts.

The 32-year-old has been especially tough on the road, where he’s gone 1-0 with a 2.82 ERA in four outings.

The longtime Los Angeles Angel hasn’t had much success at Oakland in his career, going 1-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 11 games (nine starts). He’s 2-4 with a 4.33 ERA overall against the A’s in 17 career meetings (13 starts).

Considering that they traded away their top two guys at the position at the deadline, the Padres have gotten surprisingly powerful production from catchers in the first two games of the series.

Luis Campusano, serving as a designated hitter, belted a homer in his major league debut in Friday’s win, before Austin Nola, acquired from Seattle last month, hit his sixth homer of the season on Saturday.

The Padres also acquired a third catcher, Jason Castro, at the deadline, giving manager Jayce Tingler the opportunity to mix-and-match the rest of the season.

Campusano did not play on Saturday after his memorable debut on Friday. Tingler warned reporters that’s the way it’s going to be for all three of his guys.

“They’re all going to catch,” he insisted. “They’re all going to play.”

Castro has a bit of a history against Fiers, having belted a three-run homer off him in their last head-to-head in a game between the A’s and Angels on Aug. 11.

Fiers has gone 2-0 in three home starts this season, improving his eye-catching record in Oakland to 14-2 since he was acquired from Detroit during the 2018 season.

The 35-year-old has faced the Padres just once in his career, suffering the loss for Milwaukee in a 5-2 defeat in June of 2012. He’s 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA against San Diego.

One Padre with whom Fiers is plenty familiar is Eric Hosmer, who has gone 6-for-13 (.462) with a double in their career battles.

Hosmer is only part of the problem with facing the Padres these days, A’s Friday starter Jesus Luzardo warned.

“It’s definitely difficult when you got (Fernando) Tatis Jr., (Manny) Machado and Hosmer, the first three guys in the lineup,” Luzardo said after taking the loss in the series opener. “It’s obviously a tough lineup to face.”

That trio, and No. 9 hitter Trent Grisham, have combined for 14 hits and eight RBIs in the first two games of the series.

–Field Level Media

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