The San Diego Padres' struggling offense faces their second former Cy Young award winner in as many days Sunday in the rubber match against the visiting Detroit Tigers. One game after losing 6-2 to Tigers ace Justin Verlander on Saturday, the Padres will take on Max Scherzer in hopes of recording their first series win of the young season. The Tigers were encouraged Saturday by the performance of closer Joe Nathan, who bounced back from a rough outing Wednesday against the Dodgers by working a scoreless ninth inning.
San Diego’s lineup has been decimated by injuries to outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin, but both should return in the next few weeks. Catcher Yasmani Grandal, off to an impressive start while hitting .391, could be a candidate to move up in the batting order from his No. 7 spot if second baseman Jedd Gyorko and first baseman Yonder Alonso continue to struggle. Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez is expected to start at catcher on Sunday as manager Brad Ausmus looks for ways to keep him in the lineup during interleague play.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, FSN San Diego
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Max Scherzer (0-0, 1.20 ERA) vs. Padres RH Tyson Ross (0-2, 4.35)
Scherzer benefited from strong run support last season, when he posted a 21-3 record and won his first Cy Young award. He’s allowed just two runs over his first 15 innings this season, but he remains winless after the Tigers scored a combined four runs in his first two starts. The 29-year-old, who began his career in the National League with Arizona, owns a 1-1 mark with a 2.63 ERA in four career starts against the Padres.
Ross walked nine batters in 19 1/3 innings during spring training, and his control problems have continued through his first two starts of the regular season. The 26-year-old allowed seven runs (two earned) on five hits with five walks in 5 1/3 innings in last Tuesday’s 8-6 loss to Cleveland. Ian Kinsler is 5-for-7 against Ross, who is 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in three career games (one start) against the Tigers.
1. Padres 3B Chase Headley is 4-for-8 in the series after opening the season with four hits in his first 32 at-bats.
2. Tigers OF Torii Hunter is batting .310 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 10 career games against San Diego.
3. San Diego is 2-7 when its opponent scores first.