Brewers' Chacin welcomes start against Padres

By Bill Center, The Sports Xchange  |  March 30, 2018 at 10:21 AM
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SAN DIEGO -- Jhoulys Chacin can go home again, sadly if only for a day.

Chacin will start for the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night against the Padres at Petco Park. Chacin loves Petco Park. Just ask him. He'll tell you.

"This is my favorite ballpark," the right-hander said of Petco Park at the end of the 2017 season. "I like the mound, I like the weather, I like the ballpark a lot."

For good reason. As a Padre in 2017, Chacin was 9-3 with a 1.79 earned run average at Petco Park. It was the lowest home ERA by a National League starter. At Petco Park, Chacin allowed less than a runner an inning to reach base.

On the road, it was a totally different story. He was 4-7 with a 6.53 ERA and a 1.638 WHIP. Combined, he was 13-10 with a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts divided equally between Petco Park and the road.

Chacin has always had success at Petco Park. He has an 11-4 career record in the Padres' downtown home with a 2.03 ERA in 20 appearances (18 starts). He has also had career-long success against the Padres, going 6-2 with a 3.07 ERA in 14 games and 10 starts.

But he has never had success against the Padres' starter Friday night.

That would be unconventional left-hander Joey Lucchesi, who will be making his major league debut in an 11th-hour rotation shuffle.

Dinelson Lamet was supposed to be starting for the Padres Friday. But the prized right-hander opened the season on the disabled list after experiencing elbow soreness in his final spring training start.

Enter the 24-year-old Lucchesi, who was sent to the Padres' minor league camp a week ago after posting a 1.54 ERA in 11 2/3 Cactus League innings this spring. The 6-foot-4 Lucchesi divided the 2017 season between Class A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, posting a combined 2.20 ERA in 24 games (23 starts). Lucchesi was the Padres' fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft.

"We're excited about Joey," said Padres manager Andy Green. "I think we said from the beginning that we'd take guys with us who earned the right and the opportunity to be here. Joey did that. He had a really good spring training."

Lucchesi won't be added to the Padres' 25-man roster until Friday.

"He's not officially on the roster, but he's here," Green said. "He went through a workout (Thursday) morning. He has good stuff, a competitive nature and the ability to focus on the mound despite what's spinning around him. Watch him when he's pitching. His stuff plays. There's real deception to it. It's tough to pick up.

"It's a real three-pitch mix that is going to play well at the big league level. The word to him is just go pitch like you've always pitched. Don't worry about the venue, the setting, the scenario. Just go pitch."

The Padres will have to make a roster move before Friday's game to create room for Lucchesi. But it might be difficult to eliminate a reliever after five Padres relievers worked a total of five innings Friday in a 2-1, 12-inning loss to the Brewers.

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