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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Apr 21, 2024 10:05 am

Against Blue Jays, Padres counting on Joe Musgrove to snap skid

joe musgrove

When you’re struggling to score, as the San Diego Padres have during a three-game losing streak, you can use a well-pitched game.

If history is any indication, the Padres might get it from Joe Musgrove on Sunday afternoon when they try to avoid a series sweep by the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

While Musgrove is off to a slow start this year with a 6.29 ERA and a 2-2 record in five starts, he’s stifled Toronto in four prior appearances. Musgrove is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA over 18 1/3 innings, striking out 23.

He’s coming off a 7-3 win Monday night in Milwaukee that saw him scuffle to get through three innings before San Diego dropped a six-spot on the Brewers in the fifth. Musgrove was able to make it through six innings despite yielding seven hits and three runs with four walks and three strikeouts.

Musgrove said the long fifth inning affected his location, even though it helped him earn the win.

“It’s just tough to get back into the rhythm of things when you go back out there,” he said. “I wasn’t very crisp, but as the inning was going on, I got back to being aggressive in the zone.”

In scoring just three runs over the past 27 innings, Padres hitters haven’t quite found that zone they’ve had for most of the month. Frustration came out in the first inning when Jurickson Profar and manager Mike Shildt were booted for arguing a called third strike on Profar.

“We’ve definitely put ourselves in holes,” Shildt said. “We haven’t been in enough positive counts consistently. But I love this club. I love the fight.”

Fight hasn’t been enough against the Blue Jays, who have won six of their past seven games. The two wins in this series have been similar — big early innings and then dominant starting pitching.

A four-run second inning did the job Friday night, and a first inning that featured Daulton Varsho’s three-run homer to right Saturday gave Jose Berrios and the bullpen all the support they required in a 5-2 win.

Right-hander Chris Bassitt (2-2, 4.03 ERA) will try to pitch Toronto to a sweep. He’s coming off a gem in Monday night’s 3-1 home win over the New York Yankees, allowing just one run over 6 1/3 innings on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts.

“Every pitch with him has a purpose,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said of Bassitt. “You see him sometimes nodding his head, ‘Yeah,’ when it’s a ball. He’s trying to get to a certain spot to set something up.”

That approach hasn’t always worked in four prior outings against the Padres. Bassitt is 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA in 21 innings against them and has given up 23 hits and 11 runs. That doesn’t include a National League wild-card series loss to Musgrove and the Padres two years ago when Bassitt pitched for the New York Mets.

Varsho continued his recent good work at the plate Saturday night with three hits, raising his average to .238. Typical of large early-season statistical fluctuations, he was hitting only .188 after Monday night’s game vs. the Yankees.

–Field Level Media

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