|Phillies send out Velasquez to face Padres|
Vince Velasquez's only start against the San Diego Padres was the best outing of his career. He will try to repeat that success Saturday night.
The Philadelphia Phillies are hosting the Padres in the middle of a three-game weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. Velasquez (5-8, 4.39 ERA), a right-hander, will face San Diego's Luis Perdomo (1-4, 7.55).
Velasquez struck out 16 batters and threw a complete-game shutout against the Padres on April 14, 2016, in Philadelphia. The remarkable start, which featured only three hits and no walks, came in Velasquez's second outing with the Phillies. It was Velasquez's only career complete game, and the 16 punchouts are a career high.
Valasquez has not quite been able to match that success in 2018, but he has been sharp in each of his last five starts.
Velasquez has a 3.00 ERA in his last five games, which have come on both sides of a brief stint on the disabled list for a bruised forearm. He has allowed just 13 hits and struck out 27 batters during that span (27 innings).
The 26-year-old held the New York Mets scoreless for six innings, giving up only two hits and a walk on 85 pitches in his final start of the first half on July 11. It was Velasquez's first start since the injury.
"He was simply dominant," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters about Velasquez after the start. "There was not a lot of hard contact off Vinny, and he did as good a job as could possibly be asked of him coming off 10 days down. Really giving us everything he had and emptying his tank there in the sixth inning."
Perdomo has spent time in the majors leagues and in Triple-A this season. He has made three starts since rejoining the Padres' rotation earlier this month, posting a 6.88 ERA and a 1.765 WHIP in those appearances.
The 25-year-old right-hander gave up five runs and seven hits and had six strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs last Saturday.
"He's having a hard time, especially with two strikes, hitting spots," Padres manager Andy Green told reporters about Perdomo. "He had a lot of two-strike counts and just missed at that point in time. ...Trusting his stuff and letting it go and throwing with confidence and conviction rather than perfection. That's what we'd like to see him get out of his outings."
Perdomo has made 56 major-league starts in his three-year career, but he has never faced the Phillies.
The Phillies won Friday night's opener 11-5 and got a three-run homer from Carlos Santana in the victory. The homer was the 15th of the season for Santana and his first since June 29. It could be a good sign for the Phillies' first baseman, who hit .083 (3-for-36) in his final 10 games prior to the All-Star break.
The win pushed the Phillies' home record to 31-16 in 2018, and it also kept Philadelphia (54-42) in first place the National League East. The Phillies enter Saturday with a half-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the division.