Padres seek a step forward from Lauer in matchup vs. Reds

SAN DIEGO — The Cincinnati Reds haven’t won a season series from the San Diego Padres since 2012.

Going into this week, the Padres were 20-12 against the Reds since the start of the 2013 season with a 17-9 advantage over the last four years.

But the Reds took a major step forward in reversing the trend Friday night when they scored a 7-2 victory over the Padres in their first meeting of 2018.

Saturday night, the Reds will send right-hander Matt Harvey (1-1, 3.72 ERA) to the mound against the Padres rookie left-hander Eric Lauer (1-3, 7.67) in the hopes of making it two straight over the Padres.

Harvey is no stranger to Petco Park. He already made two appearances here earlier in the season, working out of the bullpen for the New York Mets — giving up a run on two hits and a walk in a pair of one-inning outings.

It was shortly after those two appearances that the Mets designated Harvey for assignment. On May 8, the Reds acquired Harvey from the Mets for catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash.

In four previous starts for the Reds, Harvey has allowed eight runs on 20 hits and four walks with 16 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings. The Reds have won three of the four games that Harvey has started.

Before joining the Reds, Harvey had a 7.00 ERA in eight appearances (four starts) with the Mets. He appeared only one more time for the Mets after his two appearances at Petco Park.

Harvey will be making his eighth career appearance against the Padres and his sixth start. Overall, he has a 3-2 record against the Padres with a 3.48 ERA and a .218 opponents’ batting average. Against the Padres, he has given up 12 runs on 24 hits and 10 walks with 37 strikeouts in 31 innings.

Harvey hasn’t had the same luck at Petco Park where he is 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA. The Padres have hit .274 against Harvey in his three previous starts at Petco Park, where he has allowed 10 runs on 20 hits and four walks with 21 strikeouts in 19 innings.

Lauer, of course, will be facing the Reds for the first time Saturday night in his eighth Major League start.

Lauer’s first seven starts have resulted in a wildly mixed bag of results. There was his start against the Dodgers in Monterrey, Mexico, where he allowed seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts over six innings. Then there were the two 2 1/3-inning starts when he gave up six and five runs.

The Padres have lost six of the seven games started by Lauer.

“I know I have to pitch better to stay in the Major Leagues,” Lauer said after a recent start. “I know I can do it . . . it’s more a matter of doing it.”

“Eric has the tools to pitch in the Major Leagues if he uses all his tools in the right mix,” said Padres manager Andy Green.