Lucchesi Hoping to Join Lauer’s Pitching Clinic Against Los Angeles

SAN DIEGO — Now the question becomes, how can Joey Lucchesi top that?

The friendly competition between the San Diego Padres’ two rookie left-handed starting pitchers — Lucchesi and Eric Lauer — heated up a notch at Petco Park Tuesday night when Lauer came within an out of becoming the first Padres rookie to throw a complete-game shutout since Clay Hensley in 2006.

Alas, the Dodgers’ Max Muncy homered with two outs in the ninth to spoil the shutout as well as Lauer’s bid to throw the Padres’ first complete game of the season.

But Lauer evened his record at 5-5 while lowering his ERA to 4.40 while going 2 2/3 innings deeper into a game than he had gone in any of his first 14 major league starts.

Now it is Lucchesi’s turn to face the Dodgers Wednesday night in the third game of the four-game series. Thus far, Lucchesi is 4-4 on the season with a 3.27 ERA in 13 starts.

Just like Lauer on Tuesday night, Lucchesi will be facing the Southern California rival Dodgers for the second time in his rookie season. But Lucchesi will have to go a ways to match Lauer’s success against the Padres’ neighbors to the north.

Lauer, who, like Lucchesi, was a product of the 2016 draft, has pitched 14 2/3 innings against the Dodgers, allowing one run on 11 hits and three walks with 13 strikeouts.

Lucchesi gave up three runs on five hits and three walks over five innings on May 4 in Monterrey, Mexico — the night the Padres were no-hit by Walker Buehler and three Dodger relievers.

Wednesday night, Lucchesi will be opposed by Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda (5-5, 3.24 ERA), who last faced the Padres on May 5 in Mexico, allowing three runs on four hits over five innings. On that night, Maeda did not factor in the decision in a game won by the Padres 7-4.

Overall, Maeda is 4-3 with a 4.78 ERA in 11 career appearances (10 starts) against the Padres. The Padres have hit .327 against Maeda, who has 66 strikeouts against 12 walks in 52 2/3 innings against the Padres.

Maeda will be making his 17th appearance and 16th start of the 2018 season Wednesday night. He has allowed 33 runs (29 earned) on 70 hits and 31 walks with 98 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings. Opposing hitters are batting .230 against Maeda, who has a 1.24 WHIP while averaging 10.85 strikeouts per nine innings. Maeda’s most recent outing was Friday against the Angels in Anaheim, where he allowed a run on three hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Lucchesi, who returned June 20 from a five-week stint on the disabled list with a strained glute muscle, has allowed two runs on five hits and seven walks with 14 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings in his last three starts.

“I feel Lucchesi is fully back (from his time on the disabled list),” Padres manager Andy Green said Tuesday. “The first outing back was obviously rough. After that, the last three have been really good. I would have loved to see him get into the seventh inning the other day, he got into the sixth.

“We can see him extending now and getting deeper into all games. It’s all going to be predicated on results now, how he looks on the mound, how he feels on the mound. There’s no restrictions on him at all right now, just go pitch.”