Padres pregame: Juan Soto (back) sitting again to start road trip

The Padres have lost 12 of 20 since the trade deadline and it might not get any easier to get things turned around without Juan Soto in the lineup.

The 23-year-old right fielder was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup with left mid-back tightness, missed Wednesday’s game and is again out of the lineup Friday even after a day off.

Friday’s first pitch in Kansas City is 5:10 pm

Soto is hitting .286/.438/.460 with two homers and four RBIs in 18 games since joining the Padres.

Without him available, the Padres have a number of tweaks for the opener of the three-game series in Kansas City.

Shortstop Ha-Seong Kim will lead off for the fifth time this season. He is a .357/.444/.571 hitter in that spot this year and is hitting .290/.339/.411 since the All-Star break.

Left fielder Jurickson Profar will bat second, followed by third baseman Manny Machado, first baseman Brandon Drury, designated hitter Josh Bell and right fielder Wil Myers.

Second baseman Jake Cronenworth will bat seventh for just the second time this year. He’s picked up in the pace in August (.742 OPS) after a poor July (.653 OPS), but is still hitting just .240/.342/.383 with 12 homers in 123 games.

Catcher Austin Nola will bat eighth, followed by Jose Azocar getting the start in center field against the left-hander Kris Bubic.

The Padres are facing the Royals for the first time since 2017, Eric Hosmer’s last season in Kansas City. As such, they don’t have a ton of history with current Royals, but are quite familiar with one.

Brent Rooker was traded to the Royals just before the deadline for minor league catcher Cam Gallagher.

Rooker was 0-for-7 in two games with the Padres but hit 19 homers in 61 games at Triple-A El Paso. He is 2-for-14 with a double, two walks and four strikeouts in eight games with the Royals and will bat seventh on Friday as the DH.

Friday’s pitching match

RHP Padres Joe Musgrove (8-6, 2.91 ERA)

He’s turned in quality starts in each of his last three trips to the mound (2.37 ERA). Musgrove has a 3.07 ERA in 11 starts away from Petco Park. His only game against the Royals was back in 2018, when he allowed five runs in six innings.

Here is how Musgrove has fared against current Royals:

The Padres’ Joe Musgrove vs. current Royals

(Baseball-reference.com)

Royals LHP Kris Bubic (2-8, 5.29 ERA)

The 25-year-old Stanford alum is allowing hitters a .330/.388/.409 batting line through his first four starts this month (4.71 ERA). This is Bubic’s first career appearance against the Padres.

Bell is the only Padre with history with Bubic as he is 2-for-2 with a pair of singles.

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