SAN DIEGO — There will be a double homecoming Friday night at Petco Park.
Right-hander Joe Musgrove, who was born and raised 20 minutes east of San Diego in El Cajon, will be facing the Padres for the first time as the starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
And the Padres will also be back in San Diego for only the third game since June 6. This is also a brief respite. After three games at home this weekend against the Pirates, the Padres hit the road again for six games before returning home on July 9.
A quick check of the math. Between June 6 and July 9, the Padres will play only five games at home against 23 on the road in a span of 32 days.
“I’ve never seen a schedule like this,” said Padres manager Andy Green, whose club is coming off a 2-5 road trip to San Francisco and Texas.
Starting for the Padres Friday will be left-handed rookie Eric Lauer. Like Musgrove, Lauer is a former first-round draft pick.
Musgrove is one of three Pirates pitchers from San Diego County. Trevor Williams will start Saturday night’s game. And Steven Brault, who was a teammate of Musgrove at Grossmont High in 2010, is in the Pirates’ bullpen.
Musgrove, 25, was the 46th overall pick of the 2011 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. Lauer, 23, was the 25th overall pick of the Padres in the 2016 draft.
Musgrove is 2-3 with a 4.59 earned run average in six starts for the Pirates this season. Lauer is 3-4 with a 5.05 ERA in 12 starts for the Padres
Although Musgrove will be facing the Padres for the first time, Lauer made a start against the Pirates earlier this season in Pittsburgh. On May 17, the Pirates scored four runs off Lauer on six hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.
In seven starts since, the 6-foot-3, 227-pound Lauer is 2-2 with a 3.25 ERA. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Musgrove has struggled recently. He is 0-3 in June with a 7.45 ERA, and he gave up five runs on seven hits and three walks in four innings in his most recent start against Arizona on Saturday.
Lauer has lowered his ERA in each of his last five starts and has given up two runs (one earned) on eight hits and three walks with 11 strikeouts over 12 innings in his last two starts.
Lauer and rookie teammate Joey Lucchesi are two of the first three pitchers to reach the major leagues from the 2016 draft. Lauer was promoted to the Padres from Triple-A El Paso on April 24.
“We expected there would be growing pains with Lauer,” Green said recently. “Two years ago, he was pitching once a week in college (Kent State). Last year, he and Joey were working with five days’ rest between starts. This is an adjustment, being in a five-man rotation. His jump recently has come with blending in his secondary pitches as well as having better command of his fastball.”