There is a bit of a backstory to the Wednesday afternoon rubber match of a three-game series between the visiting Milwaukee Brewers and the San Diego Padres.
Left-hander Aaron Ashby (0-3, 3.49 ERA), who turned 24 on Tuesday, will start for the Brewers against Padres right-hander Yu Darvish (4-1, 3.91).
Milwaukee prevailed 4-1 on Tuesday after San Diego took the series opener 3-2 in 10 innings on Monday.
Although Ashby was already scheduled to start Wednesday, this outing begins a bigger assignment. Until now, Ashby has been the sixth starter in a five-man rotation. However, with Freddy Peralta going on the injured list with a posterior shoulder strain that figures to keep him out until after the All-Star break, Ashby moves into the rotation.
Only three of his 10 appearances thus far have been starts, and he went 0-1 with a 4.61 ERA in 13 2/3 innings during those games.
There is another angle to Ashby going into his first outing against the Padres. His uncle is Andy Ashby, who spent eight of his 14 major league seasons in San Diego, compiling a 70-62 record with a 3.59 ERA in 187 outings (185 starts).
Andy Ashby went 17-9 with a 3.34 ERA on the 1998 Padres who won the National League title and provided the impetus for the construction of Petco Park.
“I know what my uncle did for the Padres and what this ballpark means to him,” Aaron Ashby said recently. “There will be a lot of family there Wednesday.”
Including Andy Ashby, who remains close to the Padres. Andy Ashby, in fact, returned briefly to play for San Diego at the end of his career in 2004 just to be there for Petco Park’s first season.
In Darvish, Ashby didn’t draw an easy foe for first career outing vs. the Padres.
Darvish is 4-0 in his past six starts, and the Padres went 6-0 in those games. In his most recent outing, on Thursday at Philadelphia, he worked seven shutout innings, giving up six hits and no walks with five strikeouts. Over the past six games, he has a 2.58 ERA and a 0.991 WHIP.
Darvish is 2-2 lifetime against the Brewers with a 2.13 ERA, a 0.921 WHIP and a .188 opponents’ batting average in seven starts. He is 10-5 with a 3.13 ERA, a 0.957 WHIP and a .201 opponents’ batting average in 23 career starts at Petco Park.
The Padres will be looking for Darvish and other starters to go deeper into games while they debate between a five-man and six-man rotation.
“We’re one body short in the bullpen,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said Tuesday night. “It’s something we have to deal with, but our starters have been very good and we could use a starter in the bullpen.”
Until Mike Clevinger (triceps) went on the 15-day injured list earlier in the week, the Padres were looking to ease the strain on the bullpen with starters piggybacking in two of every five games.
Aside from closer Taylor Rogers, San Diego relievers have been hit and miss. But the Padres do have relievers Adrian Morejon (elbow) and Michel Baez (elbow) nearing completion of rehab assignments, and Drew Pomeranz (flexor tendon) is approaching the start of a rehab assignment.
–Field Level Media