Padres notes: Rotation juggling; Melancon’s pick-me up; Camarena is so close – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dinelson Lamet has had five days’ rest between each of his last two starts. That will again be the case this weekend as Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Friday that the 28-year-old Dominican would start on Sunday instead of Saturday.

The decision was made public two days after left-hander Ryan Weathers was optioned to Triple-A El Paso to continue building his innings as a starting pitcher, with an eye on “the importance of having five guys” in the rotation now that off-days are built into the schedule.

Tingler said he would not announce Saturday’s starting pitcher until after Friday’s game.

“There’s a lot of factors for it,” Tingler said. “We’re going to keep Lamet on turn with what he’s been doing as far as his rest and everything like that. That’s going to line him up for Sunday.”

Perhaps there’s something to this, too:

Pushing Lamet to Sunday lines up Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove to face the Dodgers in a three-game series that starts Monday at Petco Park.

The Dodgers, if they stay on turn, would throw Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer.

Finally, a hiccup

Mark Melancon finally blew a save Thursday night.

At least his first real save.

His first two — if you can call them blown saves and he wonders if you should — arrived in back-to-back games in Houston in which he was attempting to preserve an extra-inning lead with a ghost runner beginning the frame on second base.

“We do need to rethink that,” Melancon mused earlier this month about those two games counting as official blown saves.

Neither of the runs that scored in those games, both eventual wins for the Padres, were earned, per Major League Baseball’s extra-inning rules.

Melancon’s one strikeout was wedged between Joey Votto’s leadoff single and Tucker Barnhart’s double to right. He fetched the second out on Kyle Farmer’s RBI groundout but was not able to put pinch-hitter Tyler Stephenson away after getting ahead 0-2.

Stephenson ultimately won a seven-pitch at-bat with a game-tying single to center, Jonathan India homered off the first pitch he saw and Melancon was pulled after two-thirds of an inning with four earned runs allowed, twice as many as he’d given up all year and pushing his ERA from 0.64 to 1.86..

The Padres’ game-winning rally, however, spared Melancon of his first loss.

“I think he gave up some two-strike hits,” Tingler said. “You have to give the Reds a ton of credit. They went to some 3-2 counts and fouled off some pitches. I think it was Stephenson who fought some pitches 3-2 and was able to get the line drive up the middle and Barnhart put up a hell of an at-bat as well. Mark has been so outstanding for us all year. … These things are going to happen.

“I think the most important thing for the guys to pick up Mark; to me that was extra special.”

Oh, so close

It’s hard to get much closer to the big leagues than the taxi squad. Daniel Camarena would know. He joined the Padres on Friday for the third (or is it fourth?) time on the taxi squad dating back to last year.

The 28-year-old signed a minor league deal with the Padres before the 2020 season, but has not yet reached the majors in a decade long journey that began when the Yankees drafted him in the 20th round out of Cathedral Catholic in 2011.

“You certainly get your hopes up,” Camarena said Friday afternoon at Petco Park, where he attended a few games as a kid and even competed twice as a high-schooler. “You want to get in there and contribute. I’m willing to do whatever is asked of me.”

Camarena on Monday was named the Triple-A West’s pitcher of the week. He is 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA, 24 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP in eight starts (39 innings) for the Chihuahuas.

He lost all of 2020 to the pandemic. The last time he pitched in a minor league season, he had a 6.27 ERA in 103 1/3 innings split between the Yankees’ and Twins’ Triple-A affiliates.

“Mechanically, I’m just repeating my delivery a little bit better,” Camarena said. “I’m a lot more clear in my head with my thoughts, too, just allowing myself … to throw more strikes.”