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Jun 27, 2024 4:28 pm

Rising Padres, Red Sox looking for more in interleague series

higashioka

Two teams playing better baseball of late will meet Friday when the San Diego Padres visit the Boston Red Sox for the start of a three-game series.

The Padres have won three in a row and capped a 6-1 homestand with an 8-5 victory over Washington on Wednesday. The Red Sox won three of their last four, and eight of their last 10, before Wednesday’s game against Toronto was postponed by rain.

The Red Sox have been aggressive on the basepaths this season — Boston ranks second in the American League with 78 stolen bases — and manager Alex Cora said he’d like to see the organization be aggressive at the trade deadline as well. Boston did little to improve the team at the trade deadline in 2022 and 2023.

“Honestly, we didn’t get better,” he said. “We just stayed the same, and the teams around us got better. I can walk you through the trading deadline the way I see it. There’s three ways you can go: you buy, you sell, you stay put. When you stay put, well, there’s going to be teams that, they added, and they’re going to be better than you. It’s not that your team was a bad team, but the other ones around you got better.”

The Red Sox enter the weekend looking up at Baltimore and the New York Yankees in the American League East, but both division rivals are struggling.

“Hey, let’s get greedy,” Cora said. “There’s teams ahead of us that’s not playing good baseball. … Let’s not settle for the third wild card, let’s go higher and see where the season takes us.”

Catcher Kyle Higashioka and starting pitcher Dylan Cease were the stars of San Diego’s victory over Washington on Wednesday. Higashioka hit two home runs, including a grand slam, and Cease struck out nine in seven scoreless innings.

That win gave the Padres a three-game sweep over the Nationals after they won three of four games against Milwaukee. Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth called it the best stretch of games the team has played all season.

“We came out punching every game,” Cease said. “Even if we got down, the offense came back. Two really great series.”

The Padres have been dealing with their share of injury issues. Former Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been on the injured list since he fractured his shoulder diving for a ball on May 20. Bogaerts is making the trip to Boston and said he’s hoping to return in early July.

In addition, San Diego announced earlier this week that outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. will be out until after the All-Star break with a stress reaction in the femur bone in his right leg.

“We’re going to figure it out,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “I talk about it fairly often: Winners find solutions. It’s something we’ve been able to do for the most part all year. We’ve had some adversity. You’re going to have adversity in this game. … No one’s going to feel sorry for us. You’ve got to step up, play the games.”

Friday’s pitching matchup features two right-handers: Boston’s Nick Pivetta (4-4, 4.06 ERA) and San Diego’s Randy Vasquez (2-4, 5.10 ERA).

Pivetta has gone 0-3 with a 5.57 ERA in five career appearances (three starts) against the Padres. Vasquez’s lone appearance against Boston came in a start last year with the Yankees. He yielded two runs on three hits in 3 2/3 innings, striking out three.

–Field Level Media

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