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May 1, 2024 8:15 am

Padres’ Joe Musgrove goes for series win vs. Reds

Joe Musgrove

After allowing seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his last start, San Diego Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove mused about his rough outing.

“All the guys they said were cold didn’t seem cold tonight,” he said.

Musgrove gets another chance to keep ice hotter bats on Wednesday afternoon when San Diego tries for a series win in its homestand finale against the Cincinnati Reds.

The start of the 2024 season has not been what Musgrove or the Padres envisioned.

Averaging just five innings in seven starts, he’s 3-3 with a 6.94 ERA and an ugly WHIP of 1.66. He allowed seven runs on eight hits — including four homers — in 3 2/3 innings of a 9-3 setback to the Philadelphia Phillies last time out.

The good news for Musgrove: He thrives in his career against Cincinnati. In 10 outings, nine starts, he’s 6-2 with a 3.83 ERA and a strikeout-walk ratio of nearly 5-1.

San Diego ended a five-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 6-4 victory over Cincinnati, thanks in part to manager Mike Shildt’s fifth-inning decision. Shildt took a run off the board when the Reds’ Luke Maile was called for catcher’s interference during Jake Cronenworth’s at-bat.

Given the choice of taking the play, an RBI groundout that would have given the Padres a 2-0 lead, or the catcher’s interference, Shildt chose the latter. That allowed Manny Machado to hit with the bases loaded.

Machado cleared them with a first-pitch double.

That, and five shutout innings in Yu Darvish’s return from the injured list, allowed San Diego to slap a loss on former teammate Nick Martinez in his Petro Park return.

The Padres may have a tougher time dealing with Reds righty Graham Ashcraft (3-1, 4.40) in this one. He’s coming off a good outing in his team’s 2-1 loss Friday night at Texas, lasting 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run off seven hits. Ashcraft walked none and struck out three.

“He was very efficient,” Cincinnati manager David Bell said of Ashcraft. “He gets a lot of ground balls with (the cutter) and can get the early outs. Later in the season, that’s probably what’s going to lead to some complete games for Graham.”

Ashcraft pitched well in two previous starts against San Diego, both no-decisions. He’s allowed just two runs over 12 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts.

Although the Reds lost Tuesday night, the received good news on the health of multiple players.

First baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand took batting practice Tuesday. He was hit by a pitch on Saturday and appeared to be headed for a stint on the injured list.

Cincinnati right-hander Frankie Montas reported no issues from a Monday side session and might be one more bullpen session away from being activated. Montas has been shelved since April 21, when he was knocked out by a Taylor Ward comebacker in a start against the Los Angeles Angels.

–Field Level Media

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