San Diego Padres fans will never forget their team's four-game trip to Arlington, Texas, last August.
It turned around a season, if not the fortunes of a franchise. And it made history. It was in Texas last August that the term "Slam Diego" was born.
During a four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers (in which the Padres served twice as the home team), the Padres had one grand-slam homer in each win -- becoming the first team in major league history to hit grand slams in four straight games.
Fernando Tatis opened the slam run in the series opener on Aug. 17, adding controversy to the day by connecting on a 3-and-0 pitch with the Padres already leading by seven runs. Wil Myers followed with a slam on Aug. 18 in a 6-4 Padres win. Next slam was by Manny Machado in a 6-3 Padres win. And Eric Hosmer completed the record run with his slam in the Padres' 8-7 win on Aug. 20.
The Padres had an 11-12 record as they flew into Texas. The four wins against the Rangers triggered a seven-game winning streak that started a 26-11 run through the end of the regular season.
Now the Padres return to Texas for a three-game series starting Friday night with right-hander Joe Musgrove (1-0, 0.00 ERA) starting the opener against Rangers right-hander Kohei Arihara (0-0, 5.40 ERA).
The Padres will again be looking to gain some momentum in Texas coming off a 4-3, season-opening homestand. San Diego scored 19 runs while opening with three straight wins against Arizona, then scored only eight runs while losing three of the next four games. Seven games into the season, the Padres lead the National League with a 1.97 staff ERA, 76 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP. They have also committed a Major League-leading eight errors.
"We had a chance to have a great homestand," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said after Wednesday afternoon's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Giants at Petco Park. "With that loss, it was an okay homestand. We have to clean up the defense."
The Rangers also stumbled defensively during the season's first week with a lost fly in the sun costing Arihara in his major league debut. The 28-year-old Arihara, who signed as a free agent out of Japan last Dec. 26, allowed three runs on six hits and no walks with a strikeout over five innings in his U.S. debut against the Royals.
"I thought he did great for his first start in the major leagues," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "He kept them off-balance and kept the ball on the ground and gave us a chance to win."
First baseman Nate Lowe is off to a great start for the Rangers, going 8-for-25 with three home runs and 14 RBIs. Catcher Jose Trevino is 7-for-17 and right fielder Joey Gallo is hitting .300 with a homer and four RBIs.
Musgrove, a San Diego County native, allowed no runs on three hits and no walks with eight strikeouts over six innings in his Padres' debut in San Diego. He is 1-3 lifetime against the Rangers with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP in seven appearances (five starts). He is 0-1 in two appearances -- one start -- at Arlington with an 8.44 ERA.
--Field Level Media