Padres look to reward faithful fans with win over Cubs

Sat Jun 3 10:08am ET
Field Level Media

The San Diego faithful certainly didn't expect the Padres to be five games under .500 and in fourth place in the National League West in the first week of June.

Still, as the Padres face the Chicago Cubs in the second contest of a four-game series on Saturday, the fans' support hasn't wavered.

The Padres played before their 18th sellout crowd in 26 games so far this season at Petco Park on Friday, a 2-1 loss to the Cubs. Saturday night's game is sold out, too.

The Padres didn't have their 18th sellout last season until July 30. And manager Bob Melvin said the Padres need to do better for their fans, who have watched them struggle to a 12-16 home mark.

"The hard part is there is so much enthusiasm every inning," Melvin said late Friday after the Padres slid deeper into the red in another key stat -- an MLB-worst 3-11 record in one-run games.

Left-hander Drew Smyly (5-2, 3.45 ERA) will be starting for the Cubs against right-hander Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.61).

Smyly has gone 4-1 in eight starts beginning with his perfect game try on April 21 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, thwarted by an infield single to open the eighth inning. That was his best performance of the season; one of his worst came on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, when gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.

That game marked the first time since Smyly's season debut on April 3 that he gave up more than two runs and six hits in a game.

"The Cincinnati game showed us just how sharp Drew has been," said Cubs manager David Ross, whose team is 7-4 when Smyly starts.

Smyly is 1-1 lifetime in five games (three starts) against the Padres with a 2.38 ERA.

Meanwhile, Darvish gave up seven runs on seven hits in just 2 2/3 innings in his most recent start on Sunday against the New York Yankees. The Padres are just 4-6 in games started by Darvish this season.

Against the Cubs, one of his former teams, he is 1-2 in three career starts with a 2.33 ERA.

With Friday night's win, the Cubs are now 5-11 in one-run games this season.

As for the Padres, they are 5-5 over their past 10 games and 2-2 over the past four. In their two most recent wins, they scored 19 runs on 22 hits and were 12-for-30 with runners in scoring position. In the two recent one-run losses, they scored a combined two runs on six hits.

The Padres had some good news on Friday with the return of third baseman Manny Machado, who last played May 15 in a win over the Kansas City Royals. In that game, he sustained a fracture in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch. He was 0-for-4 in his first game back.

Also Friday, Rougned Odor departed in the eighth inning with a groin strain that occurred as he approached first base while running out a double.

"It doesn't feel like it is severe, but we're not sure what the timetable will be," Melvin said. "If we lose him for a significant period of time, it's going to hurt."

Odor was 2-for-3 on the night.