SAN DIEGO — San Diego Padres right-hander Colin Rea needs to make the most of his start against the visiting New York Yankees as the teams open a three-game interleague series Friday night.
Rea (4-3, 5.05 ERA) has won once in his last eight starts, but that victory came in his most recent outing when beating the Reds after allowing four runs (three earned) in five innings.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (6-5, 5.19) goes for the Yankees, who are coming off of two straight walk-off victories over the Texas Rangers. Eovaldi has struggled of late, allowing at least five runs in four of his past five starts. He'll be looking to snap a three-game losing streak and that includes falling to the Twins on Sunday, when was charged with five runs over six innings.
Rea is required to shine for a couple reasons. His opportunities could be dwindling in the second half as the Padres get healthy and they aim to keep Rea fit, too.
“The thought process would be to push him to the back of the rotation coming off the All-Star break so he gets a longer period of time off,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “Just to control his innings.”
If the Padres can tap the brakes on Rea, they said it will serve him better in the long run. The most innings he's collected in a season is 139 and he did that in Class-A ball in 2014.
Also, the Padres' rotation could get crowded, making Rea's showing against the Yankees — and in one more start before the All-Star Game — critical.
Right-hander Andrew Cashner is set to come off the disabled list because of a strained neck and could start in Sunday's series finale against the Yankees.
Tyson Ross, another right-hander and the team's opening day starter, is gaining ground on his sore throwing shoulder. He hasn't pitched since his first start but it appears he could rejoin the rotation soon after the All-Star Game.
So that puts pressure on Rea, 25, to shine while he has the chance.
“It's all about command with him,” Green said. “He's got the stuff to compete, but sometimes he picks at the corners and falls behind hitters.”
That's what happened in Rea's latest start in Cincinnati. His biggest downfall was matching a career high with four walks. But like Green said, Rea has “stuff.” His seven strikeouts against the Reds were a career-best.
Among Rea's biggest challenges Friday will be containing Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran — if he plays with his sore right hamstring.
“It's probably easier to manage if he was DHing but we're going to San Diego,” Yankees skipper Joe Girardi told mlb.com. “So that is a concern.”
San Diego's Wil Myers, who earned his stripes in the American League, has hit .304 in 102 at-bats against the Yankees. The first baseman continues his push for an All-Star roster spot with a sizzling June.
He had 21 extra-base hits in June, tying the franchise mark for most in a month. Myers' 33 RBIs are the tops for any Padre in June.
A rejuvenated Padres' offense has scored at least five runs in seven straight home games, the first time that's ever been done by the local nine at Petco Park.