Cesar Vargas' last two starts might run the gamut of his worst major league start and his best, yet he's still after his first victory.
Back home might be the best place for that to happen as Vargas and the San Diego Padres take on the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night.
Vargas (0-2, 3.55 ERA) is still seeking his first win, though he's only given up more than two runs in one start. The rookie surrendered two runs and eight hits in five innings of Saturday's 3-2 loss in Milwaukee. He wasn't stuck with the decision and didn't walk anyone after issuing three in each of his first four outings. He also struck out a career-high seven.
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It followed his worst start as Vargas gave up six runs and 10 hits in four innings of an 8-7 loss at the Chicago Cubs.
"I think you don't really know what the measure of someone is until they encounter a little bit of adversity," manager Andy Green said. "Everybody can come up and get some momentum and a few good outings and then you are like, 'This guy is going to be good.' Until they get hit around and have a short outing and things go less than ideal you don't find out what is inside somebody, so it was really good to see what was in him today."
Both of those starts came on the road, and the right-hander is 0-1 with a 1.64 ERA at home.
He's up against Alex Wood, who has his season ERA at a season low but hasn't won in his last six starts. Wood (1-3, 4.17) gave up a run and three hits in six innings of Sunday's 5-2 home loss to St. Louis. He's given up two earned runs and seven hits in 12 1/3 innings over back-to-back no-decisions.
"I thought we attacked pretty well," Wood said. "Me and (catcher Yasmani Grandal) were on the same page and are really starting to get in motion together. I thought I had all three (pitches) early."
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance against the Padres, which includes three hits in eight scoreless innings in San Diego. Matt Kemp is 5 for 9 with a home run and double against him.
Kemp was out of the lineup as the Padres won 7-6 in Friday's opener of a three-game series. The former Dodgers outfielder is 4 for 34 in his last eight games, but Melvin Upton Jr. hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
The Padres (18-25) ended a four-game losing streak on which they'd scored five runs. They've still managed only seven hits and are batting .172 over the past five games.
The Dodgers (21-22) have lost three straight and five of six with the staff posting a 6.00 ERA.
At the plate, Yasiel Puig homered and recorded his first multihit game over a 5-for-22 span in the last seven games. Justin Turner also homered but is 4 for 28 over his last eight games.