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Lucchesi, Padres pay for sloppy 3rd vs. Dodgers

MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- For the past few seasons in San Diego, the focus has been on the future of the organization. As the Padres near the All-Star break and the youth movement in the rotation begins to take form, the future is slowly but surely becoming the present.

Joey Lucchesi hopes to be a part of that ever-promising future, and the rookie entered Wednesday's matchup against Kenta Maeda and the Dodgers hoping to finish his breakout first half on a high note. But he fell a little short as the Padres dropped the third game of this four-game series, 4-2.

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SAN DIEGO -- For the past few seasons in San Diego, the focus has been on the future of the organization. As the Padres near the All-Star break and the youth movement in the rotation begins to take form, the future is slowly but surely becoming the present.

Joey Lucchesi hopes to be a part of that ever-promising future, and the rookie entered Wednesday's matchup against Kenta Maeda and the Dodgers hoping to finish his breakout first half on a high note. But he fell a little short as the Padres dropped the third game of this four-game series, 4-2.

View Full Game Coverage

Lucchesi wasn't originally supposed to make the Padres' Opening Day roster, but when the team lost Dinelson Lamet to eventual Tommy John surgery a few days before the season, the left-hander debuted in his place. The 25-year-old has had an admirable start to his big league career, despite missing a month with a hip strain. In his 14 starts, Lucchesi has gone 4-5 with a 3.34 ERA over 67 1/3 innings. He knows he can do better though.

"I'm a little frustrated," Lucchesi said after Wednesday's loss, noting that he plans to work even harder in the second half.

Manager Andy Green remarked that he'd like Lucchesi to delve into finishing at-bats and putting away hitters, something he struggled with on Wednesday. All three runs Lucchesi was responsible for came on two strikes.

"He's shown good things, really good things for a young guy -- and things to be excited about," Green said. "He's shown the ability to pitch, life to the fastball, deception, the ability to beat guys. Everybody tends to look at what happens on one given day."

Video: LAD@SD: Forsythe plates Kemp on infield single

There was small cause for concern in the third inning when Lucchesi called for a team trainer. He described it as a hand cramp, saying it was nothing serious, something he sustained during batting practice on Tuesday.

"My hand is fine," he said. "It just cramped up a little bit. I couldn't really throw my offspeed too much. I just didn't do my best today. I have to do better than that."

Lucchesi will most likely remain in the back of the rotation after the All-Star break. Green hopes the extra rest will help the young pitcher settle into a groove.

Lucchesi, however, is eager to prove himself.

"I could be better," he said. "I'm not satisfied with myself. I know I can do way better. I'm really going to push myself this next half and see what happens.

"I'm a great pitcher. I know I am."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
When it rains, it pours: On Wednesday, high pitch count -- and shaky defense -- doomed Lucchesi, who threw 91 pitches over four innings and was tagged for three runs (two earned). He allowed six hits and struck out four, but the Padres required five outs to escape the third inning.

Kiké Hernandez doubled off Lucchesi with one out in the third and came around to score two batters later via Matt Kemp's single. Max Muncy singled to put runners on the corners, and Kemp came around to score when Carlos Asuaje was unable to feed Freddy Galvis for the potential inning-ending forceout. Asuaje was not charged with an error, but Galvis was on the next at-bat. After Lucchesi's wild pitch allowed both runners to move into scoring position, Galvis threw Cody Bellinger's ground ball in the dirt and Eric Hosmer was unable to dig it out, allowing Muncy to score an unearned run that gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

Video: LAD@SD: Muncy crosses the plate on a throwing error

Can't master Maeda: The Padres scored their first run two at-bats into the game. Travis Jankowski led off with a single and scored from first two pitches later when Asuaje doubled. Maeda kept the Friars off their toes for the rest of his 5 2/3 innings, however, and the Padres wouldn't score again until the seventh, when Christian Villanueva blasted his 18th round-tripper of the year off Daniel Hudson.

Video: LAD@SD: Villanueva laces a solo homer to left field

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Jankowski opened the game up with his best Manuel Margot impression in center field. One night after Margot made two phenomenal catches, Jankowski followed up with a diving grab to rob Chris Taylor of a hit -- travelling 55 feet in 3.7 seconds with a catch probability of 43 percent, according to Statcast™. Jankowski made sure to show off his new mustache as well -- a possible nod to Green, who before Wednesday's game commented on his players breaking out some throwback facial hair styles, "I've seen these guys look better, especially Travis."

Video: LAD@SD: Jankowski lays out to rob Taylor in the 1st

HE SAID IT
"From our perspective, it's been a pretty solid first half from a young kid who was the first kid in his Draft class starting Major League Baseball games." -- Green, on Lucchesi, a fourth-round selection in 2016

UP NEXT
Tyson Ross gets the call on Thursday night as he looks to bounce back from his shortest outing of the season -- a two-inning affair in which the D-backs tagged him for eight runs. The veteran right-hander hasn't had much luck against the Dodgers in his nine-year career, going 0-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 11 starts. He'll take on the newly minted All-Star Ross Stripling in the 7:10 p.m. PT finale of the four-game series.

Katie Woo covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.

San Diego Padres, Joey Lucchesi