SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have put their bright future on full display this season. The youngest rotation in baseball will get even younger on Tuesday night.
“I'm very confident, I'm excited,” Allen said. “It's a good lineup for me to face. It's a good test. I'm just being myself. ... just want the ball, just want to pitch.”
It's been an up-and-down season for the 22-year-old Allen in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He owns a 5.15 ERA over 13 starts with more than a strikeout per inning. But Allen has been mostly solid, outside of his first two outings.
Those two outings came on the heels of a Spring Training rotation battle that went down to the final day of camp. Allen lost out to fellow rookie Nick Margevicius, likely because Allen was rocked for six runs in two-thirds of an inning in his final outing. Over his next two starts at Triple-A El Paso, Allen would allow 12 runs in just five innings.
“For me, it wasn't ever my stuff, it was between the ears,” Allen said. “I had to sit back and look myself in the mirror and say, 'I'm better than that.'”
He’ll need to be “better than that” on Tuesday night. The Padres’ pitching staff is reeling from a record-setting four-game series at Coors Field in which the two teams combined for 92 runs, and the San Diego bullpen was used for 25 2/3 innings.
“We like the four-pitch mix he brings and we feel like, in the last few starts especially, he's trending in the right direction,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “We're in a place of need right now. We need somebody to step up and step up big for us to help us.”
It's entirely possible his first stint with San Diego will be a short one. Beginning Thursday, the Padres have three days off in an eight-day stretch. They've already shuttled a handful of young starters back and forth between the Minors and Majors this year, depending on their rotation needs.
After Allen's start Tuesday, that rotation need probably doesn't exist anymore. But the team still envisions Allen as a critical piece in its long-term rotation plans.
Regardless, Allen's arrival will mark yet another debut for an exciting prospect. It's been a season full of them for the Padres, who have already promoted Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, Josh Naylor and Cal Quantrill from among their top 10.
Allen is next.