The preseason hype surrounding the San Diego Padres was justified. After all, the Padres had put together a talented team with a serious chance of ending the Los Angeles Dodgers' perennial hold on the National League West.
As the season approaches the halfway mark, San Diego is right there with the Dodgers as both chase the surprising San Francisco Giants. It doesn't help the Padres' cause, however, that they nearly got swept in a three-game series at the New York Mets before rallying to win Sunday.
Fernando Tatis Jr. had the big hit, a grand slam during a six-run seventh inning in a 7-3 win. It helped end a four-game losing streak and a stretch where San Diego had lost six of seven. Now, the Padres will try to take that momentum into a three-game series at the Colorado Rockies starting Monday night in Denver.
San Diego will send righty Dinelson Lamet (1-1, 3.52 ERA) to the mound against Colorado left-hander Austin Gomber (5-5, 3.95).
Gomber has pitched well since a rough start to the season.
"As a group and a whole, we're scuffling a bit," San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said after Saturday's loss to the Mets. "These are the challenges. These are the challenges in the season. Nothing's going to get easy."
Lamet has yet to pitch beyond the sixth inning this season, and trying to top that at Coors Field is going to be challenging. Monday will be his third career start in Denver and sixth overall against the Rockies. He is 0-2 with a 3.28 ERA in his previous five starts against them.
He is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA at Coors Field, where he has tossed six total innings in his two starts.
The Padres won five of their first six games against Colorado this season, including two of three played in Denver. They face a team that is coming off getting swept at Cincinnati, went 1-5 on its road trip and has lost seven of its past nine.
The Rockies are an abysmal 5-27 on the road, compared to 20-14 at home.
Gomber got the only win on the road trip and is pitching at a high level. He is 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA, three walks and 37 strikeouts over his past six starts.
He has a 1.38 ERA in four games -- two starts -- in his career against San Diego but hasn't recorded a decision against the Padres. In two starts against them this season he has allowed two runs -- one earned -- in 11 1/3 innings.
"I've pitched on the road a lot more than I have at home, but I don't feel like I'm a different pitcher at home or on the road." Gomber said after his most recent start. "I don't mind pitching on the road. It's fun. Sometimes I enjoy it, actually. I think right now maybe it has just been a little bit of a small sample size."
--Field Level Media