Padres pursue another series win over Reds

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin believes Tuesday could be a long day for his team.

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell hopes his counterpart is right.

The Padres flew home from Mexico City on Sunday night — also dropping 7,330 feet in altitude — and won a third straight game on Monday night, an 8-3 decision over the Reds.

But Melvin figured his ballclub would still be riding the Mexico City high on Monday. It was how the Padres might be feeling on Tuesday that concerned him.

“It would have been nice to have a day off today, that’s for sure,” Melvin said Monday afternoon. “But we don’t, so we play on. We’ll do the best we can. We didn’t have them hit (batting practice) to give them a little bit of a break. Actually, it’s usually the second day when you feel it.

“It’s baseball. You go through some stretches during the season that aren’t ideal.”

However, the Padres have dominated Cincinnati of late — particularly in San Diego.

The Padres won all six games against the Reds in 2022. Since the start of the 2021 season, the Padres are 13-1 against the Reds. Cincinnati has lost nine straight in San Diego and is only 8-22 over its past 30 games played there dating back to the start of the 2013 season.

“You’re only concerned with the next game,” Bell said. “The Padres have played very well against us. Streaks don’t last forever. “

The Reds, of course, are hoping the streaks end Tuesday night when right-hander Graham Ashcraft (2-0, 2.10 ERA) is matched against veteran Padres right-hander Michael Wacha (2-1, 6.75) in the middle contest of a three-game series.

The 25-year-old Ashcraft, the Reds’ sixth-round draft pick in 2019, is coming off the most emotional outing of his 24-start career.

On Wednesday in Cincinnati, Ashcraft held the Texas Rangers to two runs on three hits and four walks with three strikeouts in six innings. He was pitching just two days after the death of his 82-year-old grandmother Theresa Ann Ashcraft, a Rangers fan who lived in Fort Worth, Texas.

“I knew what I needed to do,” said Ashcraft, who went on bereavement leave after the Reds won the game. “The emotions were really high. The last inning was really emotional. I knew she wanted me to go back out. When I was younger, she kept score at all my games, being there even when I wasn’t playing.”

Bell said, “It was a tough week for Graham. I got to speak with him a lot. I knew how important it was for him to pitch. It was his best way honor his grandmother and family. That game was all heart. Before the last inning, we talked and he told me there was no way he was coming out.”

Ashcraft will be facing the Padres for the first time on Tuesday. It will be his sixth start of the season. He has allowed seven runs on 20 hits and 15 walks with 24 strikeouts over 30 innings for a 1.167 WHIP and a .190 opponents’ batting average.

Wacha also will be making his sixth start of the season. He has given up 19 runs on 33 hits and seven walks with 23 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings for a 1.579 WHIP and a lofty .311 opponents’ batting average. After winning his first two starts as a Padre, Wacha has yielded 15 runs on 25 hits in just 13 1/3 innings.

The 31-year-old veteran is 12-3 lifetime in 24 games (20 starts) against the Reds with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.155 WHIP.

–Field Level Media

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