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Padres send out another rookie pitcher against Phillies

SAN DIEGO -- Jacob Nix pitched six scoreless innings and picked up his first win in his major league debut for the San Diego Padres Friday night.

Saturday night, the Padres will send out another rookie starter against the Philadelphia Phillies in right-hander Walker Lockett. Then the same on Sunday with left-hander Joey Lucchesi getting the start.

In fact, Padres manager Andy Green announced before Friday's game that he will temporarily be going with a six-man rotation that includes four rookies. And when Eric Lauer returns, there could be five rookies in the Padres' rotation.

On Friday night Nix became the fifth Padres starting pitcher to make his major league debut this season -- joining, in order, Lucchesi, Lauer, Lockett and Brett Kennedy, whose debut came only two days ago in Milwaukee.

As it stands now, the only veterans in the Padres rotation are left-handers Clayton Richard and Robbie Erlin, who has made four starts.

"We can't do a six-man rotation for an extended period of time, but we'll likely stick with this until our next day off (Aug. 20)," Green said.

The Phillies will send right-hander Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.37 ERA) to the Petco Park mound Saturday night to oppose Lockett, who is 0-2 with a 9.28 ERA in three appearances (two starts) over three stints with the Padres this season. Lockett will be facing the Phillies for the first time.

In his most recent start last Saturday against the Cubs in Chicago, Lockett gave up five runs on nine hits and two walks with six strikeouts in five innings -- which happened to be his longest major league outing. When not with the Padres this season, Lockett was 4-9 with a 4.92 ERA for Triple-A El Paso, where he worked six or more innings in 13 of his 19 starts.

Meanwhile, the Phillies will be countering with an All-Star who ranks among the National League leaders in most statistical categories.

Nola has worked 148 innings in 23 starts, allowing 39 runs on 107 hits and 40 walks with 144 strikeouts. In addition to the third-best ERA in the National League, Nola has a 0.99 WHIP and a .202 opponents' batting average.

He is tied for the league lead in winning percentage (.800) and ranks second in opponents' batting average and night ERA (1.90); third in home ERA (2.07); fourth in road ERA (2.68); fifth in innings pitched and eighth in strikeouts.

Nola has made four previous starts against the Padres in his career and has a 1-2 record with a 3.21 ERA. The Padres have scored 10 runs on 18 hits and six walks off Nola in 28 innings. He has 30 strikeouts against the Padres.

Nola has not faced the Padres this year.

"Starting pitching is why the Phillies are where they are," Green said before the series opener. "They have five outstanding starters in (Zach) Eflin, Nola, Jake Arrieta, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta."

And while the Phillies are sending out starters who have accounted for 29 wins this season in the three-game series, the Padres are countering with three rookies with 20 career starts.
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