Jul 18, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Diego Padres right fielder Matt Kemp (27) hits a solo home run off of St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Mike Leake (not pictured) during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium.
WASHINGTON — It has been a challenging year for the San Diego Padres, who begin a three-game series on Friday in the nation’s capital against Washington.
The Padres entered Thursday with a record of 41-54 and the team has traded its former closer, Fernando Rodney, and top starter, Drew Pomeranz, in the last few weeks. And starting pitcher Andrew Cashner, according to several sources, could be dealt.
When San Diego gets to Nationals Park, they will also get another look at what could have been, as young Nationals infielder Trea Turner has been drawing raves this week with his speed. He had triples on Tuesday and Wednesday and also stole home on a double steal in an 8-1 win on Wednesday.
Turner, who started at second on Thursday, was a first-round draft pick out of North Carolina State by the Padres in 2014. He was traded on Dec. 14. 2015 to the Nationals in a three-way deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.
San Diego did net All-Star first baseman Wil Myers in the deal, though the Nationals also got young starting pitcher Joe Ross from the Padres. Ross made his big league debut in June 2015 and he is 7-4, 3.49 this year but has been on the disabled list since July 3 with right shoulder inflammation.
Washington manager Dusty Baker said earlier this year he is not sure why the Padres let go of Ross. "Glad we have him," Baker added.
Of immediate concern for the Padres will be facing right-hander Tanner Roark on Friday. Roark struck out 11 San Diego batters in a game in 2014 and enters the contest with a mark of 9-5, 2.82 in 20 games, with 19 starts.
"You can’t show anything — be stone faced," Roark said after a recent start.
The University of Illinois product won 15 games as a starter in 2014 and spent most of last season out of the bullpen. He was the winning pitcher in an 8-5 decision at San Diego on June 16 in the first of a four-game series against the Padres.
Roark does not have much of a track record against San Diego hitters. Myers has one homer in two at-bats against him while Virginia native Melvin Upton, Jr. is hitting .235 in 17 at-bats with just one RBI against Roark, who is one of the more underrated starters in the game.
Roark will be faced Friday by right-hander Luis Perdomo, who is 3-4 with a 7.36 ERA.
He allowed eight hits in his last start against the San Francisco Giants, but he has allowed three runs or fewer in six of his eight starts this year.
The Padres are 4-2 in those six starts and 5-3 overall in his starts. He has not faced any current Washington hitters.
"Now, I’m a lot more relaxed. I just went out there and pitched, played baseball, and my sinker got a lot of ground balls today," Perdomo told reporters after facing the Dodgers earlier this month.