This is it, the end of the 2018 season for the San Diego Padres and the last start of the season for an impressive left-handed rookie.
Eric Lauer has come a long way from his Major League Baseball debut at Coors Field on April 24th. The San Diego Padres rookie has added a new pitch, a couple ticks to his fastball velocity, and has earned the respect of many as a legitimate major league starting pitcher.
After missing one month with an injury, Lauer has returned to the rotation and put up some very impressive numbers. He’s made four starts, two of which came against playoff-bound teams (Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers). Over those appearances, he’s logged 19 innings, giving up just three earned runs on nine hits and averaging one strikeout per inning.
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Tonight, Lauer makes his final start of his memorable rookie season with a few milestones on the line. The biggest milestone is win number seven. A victory would bring Lauer to an even 7-7 record and while it may not mean too much, a 7-7 record would look a lot better than a 6-7 record. Hey, in a near 100-loss season, let’s take any sort of victory we can get. I’m also sure it has to be good for the psyche of Lauer, moving into the offseason.
Lauer is also six strikeouts away from an even 100. He’s struck out at least six hitters six times this season, recording a career-high eight K’s twice, once against the Dodgers and once three weeks ago against the Cincinnati Reds.
The rookie made just one start against the Diamondbacks in 2018, back on July 5th in Arizona. In that outing, Lauer gave up one earned run on seven hits, walking two and striking out two en route to his fourth victory of the year.
Going into Friday’s game, Lauer ranks 8th in Padres history for strikeouts by a rookie pitcher. With a quality outing tonight, he will finish with one of the best rookie seasons in franchise history, for a pitcher.
First pitch tonight is scheduled for 7:10 pm. Before the game, the Padres will honor Trevor Hoffman by renaming a portion of the road outside Petco Park “Trevor Hoffman Way.”