Padres hope Ross' deep outing marks start of a trend

Hurlers work 7 innings in consecutive games for first time since April 14-15

Padres hope Ross' deep outing marks start of a trend

SAN DIEGO -- The ending certainly wasn't the desired result Padres manager Bud Black and his team wanted Wednesday, but there was a glimmer of hope in the team's 3-2 loss to the Cubs.

For the first time since April 14-15, the Padres squeezed seven innings from starting pitchers in consecutive games.

On Tuesday, it was James Shields who went seven innings in a victory. Then on Wednesday, it was Tyson Ross, who allowed three runs in seven frames.

How important is it the Padres' starting pitchers work deep into games?

"Any win streak that's coming is going to come from the starting rotation," said Black. "That's two. We need [Odrisamer Despaigne] to do that tomorrow."

Not since consecutive April victories over Arizona, with Despaigne and Brandon Morrow on the hill, have the Padres gotten seven or more innings from their starting pitchers in consecutive games. That's caused a heavy workload on the bullpen.

"It starts with the starters," Ross said. "We have got to pitch deep into the games and give the relievers a blow and let them get back into their routine of coming in, [eighth and ninth innings], finishing it out.

"It's important for us to be accountable and do our jobs."

And do their job well.

Entering Wednesday's game, Padres starting pitchers ranked 12th in the National League with a 4.25 ERA. A year ago, that ERA among starters was 3.55.

"Obviously, [starting pitching] has been a little variable this year. But it's coming. These guys are talented pitchers," Black said. "They can't continue to pitch with the variability they've had."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.