(Photo credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)
Bob Melvin returns to the site of his greatest managerial success when the San Diego Padres visit the Oakland Athletics on Friday night to kick off a three-game interleague series.
Melvin managed the A's for 11 seasons, winning 853 games. He has won a total of 651 games in nine other major-leagueseasons - two with the Seattle Mariners and five with the Arizona Diamondbacks that predated his days with the A's, and the past two with the San Diego Padres.
The Padres and A's will be meeting for the first time this season. The clubs did not play last year, meaning this will be Melvin's first return since he was allowed out of his contract by Oakland management in order to sign on with San Diego after the 2021 season.
Melvin had a .528 regular-season winning percentage with Oakland, won three American League West titles and made six postseason trips with the A's, going 7-13 in the playoffs.
He had career losing records with the Mariners (.481) and Diamondbacks (.498), but currently sports a winning mark with the Padres (.511). His Arizona teams made the playoffs once, as did his first edition of the Padres last season, when they went 6-6 in the postseason and lost in the National League Championship Series to the Philadelphia Phillies.
San Diego (69-78) likely won't be returning to the playoffs this season. As they enjoyed a day off Thursday, the Padres found themselves seven games out of the final National League wild card spot with just 15 games to play.
The Padres do, however, finish the season with one of the weakest schedules in the majors, with three games each against the A's (46-100), Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox.
The hill likely will prove too high for the Padres to climb, but that didn't stop them from thoroughly enjoying a 6-1 road win over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday that capped a 2-1 series win.
"I just enjoy the moment," winning pitcher Blake Snell said. "I enjoy the challenge. That's why you play, to play the best teams. It's the only way you can really tell how good you are."
In search for a miracle finish, the Padres will open the Oakland series with right-hander Seth Lugo (6-7, 3.80) on the mound. The 33-year-old has pitched a grand total of one inning in his career against the A's, that coming in relief last season for the New York Mets, when he allowed three runs in the ninth inning of a 13-4 win in which he did not get a decision.
Having lost their 100th game Wednesday in Houston, the A's will kick off their final, 10-game homestand with lefty Sean Newcomb (1-0, 0.75) on the hill. The 30-year-old has gone 4-0 with a 0.89 ERA in six career head-to-heads (three starts) against the Padres.
Winning two of three from the Astros to cap their just completed trip had manager Mark Kotsay crowing about the growth of his young squad.
"It takes time to understand what it takes to win at this level and compete every day," he insisted. "They're growing more accustomed to coming here and having that expectation level. They're going out and performing to the best of their abilities right now."
--Field Level Media