Padres turn to Quantrill to cure pitching ills

mlb14PIRATES (23-20) AT PADRES (23-23)
4:10 p.m. ET; FSSD, ATTSN-PT, MLB.TV

Now it’s the Padres facing a pitching conundrum.

On Saturday night, the Pirates searched high and low for a starter before opting, successfully, for Montana DuRapau to make his first major league start as an “opener” in Pittsburgh’s 7-2 win at Petco Park in San Diego.

On Sunday, Cal Quantrill is scheduled to make his third spot start as the de facto sixth starter in the San Diego rotation. But might Quantrill, the eighth overall pick in the 2016 draft and the Padres’ 10th-ranked prospect by, actually be replacing rookie left-hander Nick Margevicius in the rotation?

Quantrill (0-1, 3.60 ERA) will oppose Pittsburgh’s Joe Musgrove (2-4, 3.59 ERA) on Sunday as the suddenly struggling Padres hope to gain a split of the four-game series.

But this could be an opportunity for Quantrill to replace Margevicius, who had a third straight poor outing Saturday night, in the Padres’ rotation.

“Quantrill should look it as a great opportunity,” Padres manager Andy Green told reporters before Saturday night’s game while specifically discussing Quantrill’s Sunday start and not the overall picture. “There’s guys throughout the game who live that life every year and have to do the up-and-down thing. It’s up to him to perform and as he performs in that role, he will get more and more opportunity.

“Up to this point in time, we like the bulldog mentality we’ve seen in him. We like his ability to make pitches in pivotal situations.”

Then Margevicius went out and gave six runs on four home runs in four-plus innings, casting his immediate future into doubt. In his last three starts, Margevicius has given up 14 runs on 23 hits — including seven homers — in 14 2/3 innings as his ERA has shot up from 3.23 to 4.96.

In his first two outings this season, Quantrill has allowed four runs on 13 hits and three walks with eight strikeouts in 10 innings. The Padres have used a spot starter four times — in conjunction with scheduled days off — as a way to give the regular members of their rotation an extra day’s rest between starts. Quantrill’s previous starts came on May 1 and May 7.

Musgrove will be returning home as the fourth native of San Diego County to appear in the series representing Pittsburgh — following shortstop Kevin Newman and pitchers Steve Brault and Trevor Williams. Musgrove and Brault were teammates at Grossmont High just east of San Diego.

The 46th overall pick in the 2011 draft, the 6-foot-5 Musgrove will be facing the Padres for the second time in his career and the second time at Petco Park. In his first visit to the ballpark he visited as a youth, Musgrove shut out the Padres on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings.

“The adrenaline was flowing,” Musgrove told the media of the start last on June 29. “I also got a hit.”

Musgrove will be making his ninth start of the season on what could be a wet Sunday afternoon in San Diego. He has allowed 25 runs (19 earned) on 37 hits and 16 walks with 40 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings for a .209 opponents’ batting average and a 1.112 WHIP. He has worked at least six innings in six of his eight starts.

Prior to pitching seven shutout innings in his last start, Musgrove had given up 15 runs (13 earned) over 5 2/3 innings in his two previous outings.

–Field Level Media

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