The San Diego Padres are getting close to full strength with the return of starting pitcher Joe Musgrove on Saturday, but the question is whether it will be enough to life the team to a road win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday.
San Diego Padres (-150, 9.5) vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Musgrove made two minor league rehab starts and showed that his command is back with just one walk across 9.1 innings, but allowed seven runs, six of which were earned, in those starts.
Last season, Musgrove had a 3.02 ERA with 0.8 home runs per nine innings allowed across his 14 road starts but was not himself towards the end of last season, posting. 3.95 ERA with 1.4 home runs per nine innings allowed in his final 15 overall starts after posting a 2.09 ERA with 0.8 home runs per nine innings in his first 15 starts of the season.
It does not help that Musgrove is backed up by a lineup that has struggled this season, ranked 28th in batting average at .222 and 25th in runs per game entering Friday.
The Padres also got Fernando Tatis Jr. back for the first game of this series, but will likely need more reps before returning to bring his normal self as he did not play at all in 2022 and it showed in his first game back, going 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts.
The Padres lineup is tasked with trying to get to Diamondbacks starter Merrill Kelly, who has been at his best both against the Padres and when pitching at home.
Against the Padres in 13 career starts, Kelly is 8-2 with a 2.61 ERA with 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings and overall at home has a 3.37 ERA with 2.3 walks per nine innings compared to a 4.46 road ERA with 3.1 walks per nine innings.
With the Diamondbacks entering Friday scoring 5.8 runs per game at home this season, the second-most in the National League, Arizona will play spoiler in Musgrove’s season debut and continue their strong start to the season.
The Play: Diamondbacks +130