Padres try to even series vs Rockies Thursday afternoon

SAN DIEGO — All that stands between the Colorado Rockies and a winning road trip to open the season is San Diego Padres left-handed starter Joey Lucchesi.

Colorado defeated the Padres for the second time in three games at Petco Park Wednesday night to reach the .500 mark on their seven-game trip to Arizona and San Diego to open the season. A win Thursday afternoon would give the Rockies a 4-3 record going into Friday afternoon’s home opener against the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field.

Starting for the Rockies Thursday against Lucchesi will be left-hander Tyler Anderson, who was greeted rudely by Arizona last Friday night in Phoenix.

Anderson (0-0, 27.00 ERA) allowed five first-inning runs in his 2018 debut and departed after 2 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on five hits and four walks.

“Feel wasn’t great,” Anderson said according to the Denver Post. “There were a ton of balls. And on top of that, I was falling behind and trying to make pitches that were too tight, trying to be too fine with things, instead of being aggressive in the zone early and often.”

Meanwhile, Lucchesi, who was inserted into the Padres’ starting rotation after No. 2 starter Dinelson Lamet departed his last spring training start with elbow problems, allowed three runs on seven hits and no walks in 4 2/3 innings last Friday night against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park.

“He settled in nicely after a tough start,” manager Andy Green said of the Padres’ fourth-round pick from the 2016. “He’s an interesting study. Nothing seems to bother him.”

Lucchesi (0-0, 5.79 ERA) is 6-foot-5 and 227 pounds. But the thing that sets him apart from other pitchers is his idiosyncratic delivery, which has a series of starts and stops leading into a high leg kick. “Funky” is a word that has been used to describe Lucchesi’s delivery.

Of all the starters the Padres selected in the 2016 draft — including first-round picks Cal Quantrill and Eric Lauer — Lucchesi was the first to reach the major leagues. The 24-year-old product out of Southwest Missouri State split last season between Class A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, where he finished with a 1.79 earned run average in 10 games (nine starts). Lucchesi had a total of 148 strikeouts in 139 innings last season.

This will be his first appearance against Colorado.

Unlike most Rockies starting pitchers over the years, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Anderson has had much better fortunes in the rarified air of Coors Field in Denver than on the road.

Anderson has a 8-5 record with a 3.39 ERA in 20 career appearances (19 starts) at Coors Field. Opposing hitters are batting only .267 against Anderson at home.

But his road record is 3-7 with a 5.72 ERA in 17 games (16 starts). Opposing hitters are batting .281 against Anderson on the road.

Overall, Anderson is 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three career starts against the Padres — allowing four runs on 14 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 18 innings. His career WHIP against the Padres is 0.94.

But in his only start at Petco Park — on Sept. 21 last year — Anderson gave up three runs on six hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings. In two career starts against the Padres at Coors Field, Anderson has allowed one run on eight hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings — an 0.73 ERA.