When Taylor Rogers was traded from Minnesota to San Diego on Opening Day in April to be the Padres’ closer, the left-hander said he was looking forward to the end of July when his former Twins teammates would visit San Diego.
That might not be the case now that the Twins have arrived for the three-game set, which starts Friday night.
The Padres are in a nosedive, and one of the key figures in their plunge is Rogers.
After allowing only one run in his first 20 appearances — while compiling 17 saves and a 0.44 ERA — Rogers has an 8.14 ERA over his past 22 games. He has blown six of his past 17 save opportunities … including two on Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit against the woeful Tigers.
The Padres are 10-17 over the past 27 games. They have watched their bullpen blow 16 save opportunities this season, and Rogers hasn’t been the only culprit.
Now San Diego has another tough test against the American League Central-leading Twins. Minnesota owns a 15-5 record against the Padres since the birth of interleague play and is 8-2 over the years in San Diego.
The series begins with Minnesota rookie right-hander Joe Ryan (7-3, 2.89 ERA) starting against San Diego left-hander Blake Snell, who has been pitching better of late than his 2-5 record and 4.75 ERA.
The Padres are 3-3 since the All-Star break despite getting three quality starts, plus five shutout innings from Snell on Saturday.
San Diego manager Bob Melvin says the closer role is an open question, but that is not his only concern.
Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return from a broken left wrist is now targeted at Aug. 5. The offense has also fallen into a funk. There are questions at first, right and center. And the Padres are awaiting word on a deep evaluation of rookie MacKenzie Gore’s left (pitching) elbow.
Plus, the Padres are only 25-21 at home this season.
“Strong teams play better at home,” Melvin said. “It’s something we have to address.”
Meanwhile, the Twins see opportunity knocking. After the three games in San Diego, Minnesota plays 20 of its 28 August games at home.
“It’d be great to win a couple in San Diego to gain a little momentum going into a part of the schedule that should benefit us,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Ryan will be facing the Padres for the first time. He has allowed two runs over 11 innings in his past two starts, both resulting in Twins wins. And he has a 2.05 ERA (five earned runs over 22 innings) in his past four starts, with Minnesota going 3-1 in those games.
Minnesota is 10-5 in Ryan’s 15 starts. The 26-year-old San Francisco native has a 1.049 WHIP and a .207 opponents’ batting average in 81 innings.
Over his past four starts, Snell has given up seven runs on 15 hits and 14 walks with 33 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings. That’s a 3.20 ERA and more than 15 strikeouts per nine innings.
“Sometimes, I don’t know if Blake knows how good his stuff is,” Melvin said. “He can throw the ball right down the middle and get swing and miss.”
Snell has struggled in his career against the Twins, going 1-2 with a 7.15 ERA in five starts. However, he hasn’t faced Minnesota since 2019.
–Field Level Media