Phillies-Padres preview

BY foxsports • August 7, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- As Philadelphia Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff's record attests, he has pitched in tough luck most of the 2016 season.

Eickhoff, 26, is 6-12 despite a 3.68 ERA in 22 starts.

"His won-loss is really misleading," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said recently. "We haven't consistently gotten him a lot of runs and he's lost a lot of close decisions."

But Eickhoff could be catching a break Sunday when he's matched against Padres right-hander Jarred Cosart in the rubber match of a three-game series at Petco Park.

There is this "triple whammy" hanging over the Padres this season. The Padres have struggled on Sundays (3-14), in day games (10-25) and in final games of series (8-27).

And all three of the Padres' problems are in play Sunday as they end a six-game homestand.

The Padres have fared better recently in series finales (5-4 in the last nine) and day games (4-5). But they have made little gains on Sunday.

"I don't know what it is," Padres manager Andy Green said recently of the "triple whammy."

"But I'm pretty sure it's most coincidence."

Plus some lopsided pitching matchups, which it appears there is another one Sunday afternoon.

As Mackanin said, Eickhoff deserves better. He has allowed only 129 hits in 132 innings. With a 112-31 strikeout-to-walk ratio, opponents have hit only .258 against him.

And the Padres didn't come close to faring that well when Eickhoff faced them on April 13 in Philadelphia. Eickhoff shut out the Padres on four hits in seven innings and picked up the win in his only previous start against San Diego. He didn't walk a batter and had nine strikeouts.

In Eickhoff's two most recent starts, he has allowed one run and seven hits in 12 innings.

Meanwhile, Cosart will be making his second start as a Padre. He went only 3 1/3 innings in his first outing, didn't allow a run and gave up only one hit. But he issued six walks and threw 77 pitches, of which only 34 were strikes.

"We like the stuff," Green said of the 26-year-old right-hander acquired in the July 29 trade that sent right-hander Andrew Cashner to the Marlins. "The pitches are there, he just needs to command what he has."

Cosart made four starts earlier in the season with the Marlins, although he was with Triple-A New Orleans when the trade was completed. Cosart was 0-1 with the Marlins with a 5.95 ERA. But during the final five starts of 2015, he was 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA.

Starting pitching has become a major concern for the Padres. Short starts have been taxing the bullpen, which explains why the team is carrying eight relievers and Saturday replaced one veteran left-handed reliever (Matt Thornton) with another (Clayton Richard).

Thornton is a one-inning pitcher. Richard can work longer and could spot start between now and the end of the season if the Padres need rotation help and Tyson Ross isn't available around Sept. 1 as expected.

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