In his daily pregame media sessions, San Diego Padres manager Jayce Tingler rarely talks directly about that day's contest other than to say his club is focused on one game at a time.
Thursday was different, however, as the Padres prepared to open a four-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. The series marks the Rockies' last visit to San Diego this season.
"It's a very important game, a very important series for us," Tingler said. "We've gone back and forth against the Rockies. The last time they were here, they took the series."
Tingler then was asked why the Padres seem to struggle more against teams with losing records than against winning clubs like the Los Angeles Dodgers and National League West-leading San Francisco Giants.
"I don't know," Tingler said. "We haven't been great on the road. We haven't been great in day games. We've been relatively inconsistent throughout the year. We haven't gotten things rolling. Playing fundamentally solid baseball (is) the most important thing. We have to start hitting on all cylinders."
The Padres recorded a 3-0 victory in the series opener on Thursday night. They'll look to keep that intensity in Friday's clash.
The Rockies are now 11-39 on the road this season. That's a 22 percent winning percentage, however two of those wins came against the Padres when the Rockies visited San Diego going into the All-Star break.
Friday night's game features a rematch of the Rockies' 3-1 win over the Padres on July 11, as right-hander Jon Gray (6-6, 3.67 ERA) starts for Colorado against Padres left-hander Ryan Weathers (4-2, 2.73). The July 11 game resulted in Gray's sixth win and Weathers going on the injured list after a collision along the first-base line resulted on a bone bruise near his Achilles tendon.
Gray allowed one run on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in six innings on July 11.
"It was one of his better outings," Rockies manager Bud Black said of Gray's performance against the Padres. "He did a nice job of keeping them off balance."
Gray, 29, has done a nice job of keeping the Padres off-balance throughout his career. He is 1-2 against the Padres this season despite a 3.12 ERA and a .227 opponents' batting average. Gray has faced the Padres 24 times in his career (23 starts) and owns an 11-6 record with a 2.99 ERA while notching 155 strikeouts in 138 1/3 innings.
Weathers, however, has made only 18 career appearances and 12 starts -- working a total of 62 2/3 innings.
The 21-year-old rookie has made two appearances (one start) against the Rockies, giving up one run on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in five innings. Due to the right leg injury, Weathers lasted only two innings in his start and missed nearly the next two weeks.
"It wasn't as bad as it originally appeared," Tingler said of Weathers' injury. "At first, we feared it was the knee. We were again fortunate that the injury wasn't to his push-off foot, which also allowed him to make a faster return."
Weathers pitched four shutout innings in his first start back against the Miami Marlins last Saturday. He allowed two hits with three walks and four strikeouts on 77 pitches in a no-decision.
--Field Level Media