SAN DIEGO — The Pirates pitching homecoming continues Saturday night at Petco Park.
On Friday, two San Diego County natives — and former high school teammates — pitched for Pittsburgh in downtown San Diego. Starter Joe Musgrove and reliever Steven Brault were raised a half-hour’s drive to the east of Petco Park.
Saturday night, the focus shifts to northern San Diego County as Rancho Bernardo High grad Trevor Williams starts for the Pirates against his hometown club.
While Musgrove and Brault were facing the Padres for the first time, the 26-year-old Williams pitched six innings against the Padres on May 20 in Pittsburgh. He gave up four runs on four hits — including a two-run homer to Christian Villanueva — in six innings but did not get a decision in a game won by the Padres, 8-5.
The right-handed Williams (6-5, 4.03 ERA in 16 starts) will be opposed by left-handed rookie Joey Lucchesi (3-3, 3.57 ERA). Lucchesi had just gone on the disabled list with a strained glute muscle when the Padres visited Pittsburgh in May.
Williams started the season with three straight wins but is 1-3 with a 6.09 ERA over his last seven starts. However, he allowed only one hit with seven strikeouts in seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers two starts ago on June 18. That happened to be his only win since May 15.
Saturday night will be his eighth road start of the season. He is 2-2 with a 4.42 ERA on the road. But he is 0-2 with a 7.23 ERA in his last four road starts after opening the season with a 2-0 mark and a 1.50 ERA in his first three road starts.
Williams is coming off a loss in his most recent start against the Arizona Diamondbacks last Sunday afternoon. Williams gave up three runs on five hits in six innings while the Pirates were being shutout.
Lucchesi, 25, will be making his third start since returning from the disabled list June 20.
His first outing on the day he was activated lasted only 1 2/3 innings as he gave up four runs on three hits — including two homers — and two walks in just 1 2/3 innings against Oakland. On June 26, Lucchesi allowed no runs and only one hit and two walks with four strikeouts in Texas, but came out of the game after four innings when he reached his pre-set limit of 70 pitches.
Padres manager Andy Green said Lucchesi now has the green light to go deeper into Saturday’s game if the performance merits it.
Saturday will be Lucchesi’s 12th start around his 33-game stay on the disabled list. At the time of his injury, Lucchesi was 3-2 with a 3.23 ERA in nine starts – although his ERA had climbed in five of his six starts before going in the disabled list. The Padres are 4-7 in games started by Lucchesi — who has given up 10 home runs in 53 innings, accounting for 15 of the 23 runs he has allowed.