Mets look to pick on rebuilding Padres (Jul 25, 2017)

BY AP • July 25, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- The present shows the New York Mets taking on the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.

However, the Padres take the Petco Park field thinking more about the future. That was clear Monday when they made a multiplayer trade with the Kansas City Royals.

"No one is blindsided by this," Padres manager Andy Green said. "We are excited about the prospects."

But maybe the prospects are just as good for the Mets to take advantage of the short-handed Padres.

After San Diego lost two critical late-inning arms, Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter, the Mets will be facing a Padres bullpen filled with relievers not sure of their roles. As Green continues to mix and match while figuring out which pitcher to choose when, there could be some speed bumps along the way.

The Mets also won't have to face Trevor Cahill on Wednesday night. Cahill, who had been among the Padres' most effective pitchers, is headed to Kansas City with the Padres picking through names in the farm system for a starter that night.

So while Padres hope the swap pays dividends down the road, the Mets' road trip to San Diego just might have gotten a little more agreeable.

San Diego sends Jhoulys Chacin (9-7, 4.26 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday while the Mets counter with Seth Lugo (4-2, 4.05) in a matchup of right-handers.

Chacin has had a rough go against the Mets in his career, compiling a 1-5 record with a 6.50 ERA. However, in his four starts overall this month, he is 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA.

Lugo has seen the Padres only once, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings and striking out two in a relief appearance on Aug. 12, 2016.

Lugo was sensational his last time out, even if he didn't have a decision to show for it. He threw 6 2/3 innings Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals, not allowing a hit until there were two outs in the fifth. He wound up permitting one run on four hits.

"I felt like I had my legs under me so I could make the adjustment," he said after the game. "We need all the wins we can get right now. If we're going to make a good run for (the playoffs) and put up a good fight, that kind of stuff has to happen."

When the stuff hit the fan, Lugo often hit the showers. However, he has shown more mettle lately, and the results was consecutive starts in which he went 6 2/3 innings.

"Each start I try to get better, and I feel like that's happening," he said. "(Against the Rockies on July 15), I ran out of gas in the sixth and seventh, and I felt really tired out there. (Against the Cardinals), I felt great in those last couple innings, and I felt like I still had more in the tank."

Some are calling the Padres "Team Tank" as they strip away the few major league assets they possessed. The watered-day version of their squad will try to keep pace with the Mets on Tuesday. New York has won five of its past six games, including the series opener 5-3 on Monday.

"That's a good club, and they are playing good baseball," Green said of the Mets. "They hit the ball well and are pitching it well. They are enjoying a run of success right now, and I'm sure they would like to continue it."

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