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Apr 30, 2024 8:49 am

Reds’ Nick Martinez looks to stifle Padres in return to Petco Park

Nick Martinez

For Nick Martinez, it’s a homecoming game.

The former San Diego Padre is now pitching for the Cincinnati Reds. The right-hander will return to Petco Park on Tuesday night for the middle contest of the teams’ three-game series.

“I absolutely loved my time here,” Martinez said of pitching for the Padres in 2022 and 2023. “It was a really cool chapter in my career. We went on some fun rides. I love the city. I love the fans. I love the organization. Now I’m in Cincy, and there’s some similarities in the team, in the clubhouse, in the hunger of wanting to win, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Martinez’s new team is in a better spot so far than his old one. Monday night’s 5-2 win improved the Reds to 16-13 despite a spate of illnesses and injuries and knocked San Diego to 14-18 with a five-game losing streak.

Elly De La Cruz hit his eighth homer to get Cincinnati off the ground in the first inning, continuing a monster start to the season. De La Cruz also has swiped a whopping 18 bases and scored 26 runs, an average of nearly a run per game.

Martinez (0-1, 5.48 ERA) is coming off a 5-0 loss Thursday to Philadelphia that saw him allow five runs on 11 hits in six innings. Bryce Harper tagged him for a two-run homer, picking on a changeup.

In his one career start against the Padres while pitching for Texas, Martinez gave up four runs and eight hits over six innings in a loss.

San Diego’s Opening Day starter, Yu Darvish, is expected to be activated off the injured list to take the mound on Tuesday.

The Padres could use a well-pitched game from someone. During their current skid, Matt Waldron’s six-inning, four-run performance on Monday night is the best start they’ve received. The starters have given up 26 runs in 24 innings.

Darvish (0-1, 4.18 ERA) most recently pitched on April 14 at the Los Angeles Dodgers, permitting three runs on four hits in five innings and 92 pitches. He walked two and struck out two but wasn’t around for the decision in San Diego’s 6-3 win.

Darvish has made 10 starts in his career against the Reds, going 4-3 with a 3.34 ERA while striking out 82 over 62 innings. It’s not known if there will be a hard pitch count for his first start in 16 days.

While starting pitching has been an issue lately for the Padres, the offense also is at fault to an extent. It certainly contributed little Monday night, managing only four hits and striking out 14 times.

One bright spot was left fielder Jurickson Profar, recently promoted to the leadoff spot. He started the game with his seventh career leadoff homer, the only hit San Diego got off Nick Lodolo in seven innings.

“I’m just trying to do whatever the game asks me to do,” Profar said. “Just going out there and trying to hit the ball hard somewhere.”

–Field Level Media

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