Cardinals will try to make it three straight games of tainting Padres’ celebration

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres are asking fans to arrive early at Petco Park Saturday evening.

Shortly after 5 p.m., ceremonies will begin to posthumously induct former general manager Kevin Towers into the Padres Hall of Fame. Towers, who died Jan. 30 after a 14-month battle with anaplastic thyroid cancer, was the Padres’ longest-tenured general manager, serving from 1995-2009.

The induction ceremony is part of a four-day celebration of the Padres’ 1998 National League championship team.

Before Thursday’s start of the four-game series against the Cardinals, Padres manager Andy Green expressed hope that his team would step up in the memory of Towers, the late Tony Gwynn and the 1998 team and win some games at home against the Cardinals.

However, the Cardinals go into Saturday looking for a third straight win that would extend the Padres’ woes at Petco Park this season.

Officially, the Padres’ home record this season is 8-17. But two of those wins came in Monterrey, Mexico, last weekend against the Dodgers. At Petco Park, the Padres are 6-16.

“We’ve played well on the road, but we have to play better at home,” Green said recently.

Friday night, Padres pitchers gave up five homers in a 9-5 loss to the Cardinals — the fourth loss in five home games this week.

Saturday night, after Towers becomes the 15th member of the Padres Hall of Fame, Padres right-hander Tyson Ross (2-3, 3.67 ERA) will attempt to reverse the trend against right-hander Michael Wacha (4-1, 3.35 ERA) of the Cardinals.

Wacha, 26, is at 49 career wins and looking to become the 11th-youngest pitcher in Cardinals history to reach the 50-win plateau. He takes a lot of momentum into Saturday’s bid.

For starters, Wacha has held the opposition to two runs or fewer in each of his last four starts with a 1.96 ERA — tying him for seventh among all National League pitchers dating to April 23. Additionally, the Cardinals have won each of his last six starts, dating to April 7.

Then there’s the matter of Wacha versus the Padres.

Wacha is 3-0 against the Padres with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts. His last three starts against the Padres have come at Petco Park, where he is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA. He won his only appearance at Petco Park in 2017 — finishing the start with four straight scoreless innings. The Padres have hit .250 (16-for-64) against Wacha at Petco Park with one homer in 18 innings.

Ross is coming off his worst start of the season. Last Monday, in the opener of the homestand, Ross gave up five runs on six hits and three walks in six innings of an 8-5 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Ross has a 1-1 career record against the Cardinals with a 3.00 ERA in six games (three starts).

Ross, who ranks among the National League leaders in percentage of sliders thrown, has a 14-18 career record at Petco Park with a 2.88 ERA in 50 games (41 starts). He has 277 strikeouts in 274 2/3 innings at Petco Park.

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