Tyson Ross is in his first full season as a starter for the San Diego Padres and has already written himself into the franchise record book.
After taxing their bullpen in another loss to Colorado, the Padres could use another solid effort from Ross on Sunday as he seeks his first win over the NL West-rival Rockies.
Ross (13-12, 2.60 ERA) leads San Diego (66-75) in wins and is tied with Ian Kennedy with a career-high 184 strikeouts.
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The right-hander’s breakout season also includes being named to the All-Star team for the first time. He’s justified that status with a 1.93 ERA and 1.02 WHIP while going 7-6 during a franchise-record string of 14 consecutive quality starts.
Ross has won his last two outings by yielding two runs and striking out 14 in 12 1-3 innings. He tossed five scoreless innings Monday before giving up one run in the sixth and leaving after 115 pitches in a 3-1 win over Arizona.
Manager Bud Black preferred to stick with Ross after he gave up the score and had runners on first and third. He struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
"In a 3-1 game, in the sixth inning, he has to make pitches," Black told MLB’s official website. "I thought that, not only was that a pretty good learning experience for him, being in a tough situation with no outs when maybe he was tiring. But, I felt at that point he was our best pitcher. His stuff was still great."
Ross has a 2.81 ERA in six appearances against Colorado, including four starts, but he’s 0-3 while being backed by seven total runs. He got one in the most recent matchup July 8, while he allowed two runs in six innings of a 2-1 defeat at Coors Field.
The Padres may need Ross to go deeper than that if they’re going to end their four-game slide. They used seven relievers in Saturday’s 7-6, 12-inning defeat to the Rockies (58-84) after falling 3-0 a day earlier.
Colorado may own the NL’s worst record, but it’s on the verge of winning four straight for the first time since a season-high five-game streak June 11-15.
Franklin Morales (5-7, 5.46) will try to help the Rockies match that run, and he’s won both of his season meetings with the Padres by allowing two runs over 11 2-3 innings.
The left-handed reliever-turned-starter, though, hasn’t won since facing San Diego at home July 8, yielding one run in 5 2-3 innings of a 2-1 victory.
Morales is 0-3 with a 5.88 ERA in seven starts since and was hammered early in Monday’s 10-9 win over San Francisco. He surrendered four runs in the first inning and three more before being pulled with one out in the fifth.
Like Ross, Morales could help his club with an extended outing after the Rockies used nine relievers Saturday before Drew Stubb’s walkoff single. Morales, though, has completed seven innings only once in 2014 – and it was back on April 22 in a win over the Giants.
Justin Morneau went 4 for 6 with a homer and two RBIs on Saturday, improving his season average against San Diego to .408.
His .314 overall average is tied with Ben Revere of Philadelphia for second in the league, behind only Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison (.315).