Rubby De La Rosa
|Yangervis Solarte - 3B||A.J. Pollock - CF|
|Yonder Alonso - 1B||Jake Lamb - 3B|
|Justin Upton - LF||Paul Goldschmidt - 1B|
|Matt Kemp - RF||David Peralta - LF|
|Derek Norris - C||Yasmany Tomas - RF|
|Will Venable - CF||Aaron Hill - 2B|
|Cory Spangenberg - 2B||Welington Castillo - C|
|Alexi Amarista - SS||Nick Ahmed - SS|
|James Shields - RHP||Rubby De La Rosa - RHP|
Well, "Big-game James" has certainly lived up to his name for the Padres: not many starters manage to go through their first 14 starts in a season without tasting defeat. Though the team's record when he starts is perhaps less impressive than you'd think, at only 9-5, with the Padres losing his last two times out, against Atlanta and Los Angeles. Since his last outing, the Padres have fired their manager, and lost one of their better hitters for the season, so we'll see if that makes any difference to things in this series.
It's the start of another long series of games within the division, our next sixteen contests all being against the rest of the West. We've done reasonably well overall intra-division, with a 16-15 mark: the Dodgers are the only team with a better winning percentage there. But that does conceal some radical differences against individual teams: we are 7-3 against the Giants and 4-1 versus the Rockies. But we are 3-4 against the Padres, and the Dodgers continue to have the evil eye over us, with a 2-7 record. Yet, Los Angeles are 2-7 against San Francisco, whom we have dominated so far! It's all very confusing: by the All-Star break, things might have sorted themselves out a bit.
De La Rosa certainly looked pretty impressive last time out, as good as he has been since his complete-game outing against the Marlins in Miami, with eight shutout innings. It was particularly startling, considering how awful his previous two starts in June had been. Hopefully, those will turn out to be the aberration, and De La Rosa's development can return to track Wade Miley got his ERA down below five with his last start: can Rubby follow suit tonight? It won't be easy - seven innings of one-run ball would be about the boundary condition - but we know he has it in him. It's just a case of whether he has it on any given night...