Padres Host Twins in Battle of Cali Pitchers

Interleague series will have a local flavor.

It’s back home after a week on the road for the Padres as the Minnesota Twins come to Petco Park for a quickie two-game Interleague set.

Despite the opponents coming from the Midwest, the series will have a California feel as all four starting pitchers are from the state and/or played college ball here.

The Twins come in having won three of four, but are still right at .500 (21-21) for the year. The Padres, having split their road trip, are still three games under and have aspirations for that elusive .500 mark. A nice little sweep would push them ever so closer with an awful Chicago Cubs squad coming to town this weekend.

It’s been similar stories of late for both teams. They each trail their division leaders by seven games, and each have won six of their last 10. Predicting a series split would not be a wild prognostication. If either can pull off the sweep, it would be one of those small victories that can get a club going.

Cashner update: First, the latest on Padres ace Andrew Cashner, who was scratched from his Sunday start and put on the disabled list with arm soreness. Cashner had an MRI on Monday which revealed soreness and irritation, but no structural damage.

Manager Bud Black said before Tuesday's game that the news was as positive as could be. "We feel good about it," he said. "We don't mind hearing this news."

Black said Cashner probably wouldn't pick up a ball until later in the weekend and Donn Roach -- who filled in for Cashner on Sunday -- would probably get another start this weekend.

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (2-5, 3.60 ERA) vs. Kevin Correia (1-5, 6.80)
Correia grew up in San Diego and went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo while Kennedy hails from Huntington Beach and attended USC. Correia also pitched for the Padres in 2009-10. Maybe some home cooking will help, as he has given up four or more runs in four of his last five starts. Kennedy is averaging eight strikeouts per start over his last four, including 12 punch outs earlier this month against the Marlins.

Wednesday, 6:10 p.m.: Tyson Ross (5-3, 2.81) vs. Phil Hughes (4-1, 3.61)
Ross (Berkeley, Cal) may take over the role of de facto ace with Cashner on the shelf. He’s been consistently strong, going seven innings and allowing just one earned run in each of his last three starts. Hughes (Mission Viejo) has been even better, winning four straight over a stretch of five straight quality starts in which he has only allowed seven total earned runs.

What’s at stake: The quest for .500 continues. Will the Friars push through at home this week?

For those paying attention, the San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies play each other this week – both teams looking down on the Friars in the standings.

This is the first time these two teams have met since 2011. They play another two-game set in the Twin Cities in August.

The Padres are 4-5 against the American League this year.

Who to watch:
The Seth Smith train just keeps on rollin’. The outfielder jacked a pair of home runs against the Rockies over the weekend, giving him five on the year. His .333 average is fourth in the majors and he has hits in 12 of his 15 games in May.

Chris Denorfia is swinging a hot stick as well, racking up seven hits in his last four starts. Carlos Quentin had hits in each of the games against the Rockies – including a homer on Saturday – but may miss one or both games with a tweaked groin.

Twins: Second baseman Brian Dozier is riding a nine-game hit streak and had a pair of homers over the weekend. His 11 long balls is good for fourth in the American League. Catcher Kurt Suzuki just had a seven-game streak snapped but is still hitting .317 on the year. First baseman Chris Colabello leads the team with 30 RBIs, but is going through an awful 0-for-21 stretch.

Why go: It’s Taco Tuesday tonight. What else do you need?

What’s next: The Cubs come to town for what should be a fun series – and not just because they have the worst record in baseball. It’s a celebration of the 1984 World Series team that beat the Loveable Losers in the National League Championship Series that year. Friday is a brownout at Petco and Saturday is a Padres retro jersey giveaway.

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