Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer have made great strides over the course of their rookie seasons for the San Diego Padres, however, Fridays seem to be a bit of an issue.
Happy Friday, San Diego Padres fans! Another work week may be coming to a close in just a few hours, unfortunately, the Padres continue their road trip tonight with a series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers for this year’s Players’ Weekend. Clayton Richard and his post-All-Star break ERA of nearly 8.00 will take the mound for the Friars, matching up against Dodgers’ starter Rich Hill.
A few days ago, I wrote a piece that looked at the difference between Craig Stammen‘s numbers in weekday games vs his weekend appearances. With such a huge difference in his numbers, I was intrigued by other players’ performances on certain days and decided to look up how Richard has pitched on Friday’s, finding nothing positive. However, what intrigued me more was the numbers from a few fan favorite rookies, Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer.
Lauer appears to be nearing his return from injury, having not pitched since July 30th. He’s shown flashes of outstanding pitching, including back-to-back six-inning starts against Oakland and San Francisco (12 innings, one earned run, three walks, 11 strikeouts combined) and an 8.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 8 K performance against the Dodgers on July 10th.
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Unfortunately, Friday nights under the lights haven’t been positive experiences for the rookie. In three Friday starts, Lauer is 0-3 with an 8.76 ERA, 2.43 WHIP, and .400 batting average against. He’s averaged just four innings per start, giving up five home runs and eight walks, while striking out nine.
His rookie teammate, Joey Lucchesi, hasn’t fared much better. Lucchesi has been, arguably, the most exciting storyline of the 2018 season. From his mesmerizing delivery to his beautiful churve, it appears as if Lucchesi will have a spot in the back-end of this rotation for years to come. However, Friday nights haven’t been much fun for Lucchesi, either.
Averaging just under five innings per start (four starts), Lucchesi has posted a 6.16 ERA and 1.63 WHIP, while recording an 0-3 record on Friday nights. Posting such a high ERA and WHIP as a starter typically doesn’t help lead your team to a victory, but outside of last Friday’s start against the Diamondbacks, the Padres had a legitimate chance to win every other Lucchesi Friday night outing. His 17/7 K/BB ratio in those four starts definitely helped his cause.
Will the Friday curse for these rookies reverse itself before the end of 2018? At this point in the season, if you’re like me, you’re looking for any reason possible to justify spending a Friday night watching a Padres game. Is this enough? Sure, why not.