A series win in Colorado, in which they scored 32 runs in three games, has given the Arizona Diamondbacks a much-needed jolt of confidence as they get set to open a three-game set Friday with another winning team in their own division, the San Diego Padres.
A head-to-head series with the Padres, who are in third place in the National League West, gives the fourth-place D-backs a chance to gain ground. Arizona has won five of its last eight games and faces San Diego for the first time at home this season, after going 2-5 against the Padres in California in July and earlier in August.
“You’re always looking for push moments and always looking for good things, and it’s especially nice knowing that we’ve grinded to get to this point,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said after Arizona’s 13-7 win over the Rockies on Wednesday. “We’re super excited to get back home and do what we do best.”
The Diamondbacks have their most consistent starting pitcher thus far, right-hander Merrill Kelly, on the mound Friday. Kelly (2-1, 2.29 ERA) has pitched at least six innings in each of his three starts in 2020. He got the win in San Diego on Aug. 8, holding the Padres to a run on six hits with four strikeouts in six innings.
A hot offense has to help the pitching staff, veteran outfielder David Peralta said.
“We’ve been hitting the ball the opposite way trying not to do too much,” Peralta said. “We just concentrate on getting a base hit and keeping the line moving.”
San Diego opened a four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers with two wins at Dodger Stadium earlier this week, but were outscored a combined 17-2 on Wednesday and Thursday. The Padres haven’t lost more than two games in a row all season.
“We’re frustrated, disappointed, especially after getting the first two,” manager Jayce Tingler told Fox Sports San Diego on Thursday night. “But it’s got to be a quick turnaround because we’ve got five more on the road. These next five, they’re going to determine how this road trip goes.”
The Padres have right-hander Dinelson Lamet (2-0) on the mound Friday. Lamet’s 1.61 ERA is fourth-best among NL starters who have made at least three starts this season, and he’s taken a no-hitter past the fifth inning in each of his last two starts.
Lamet handcuffed the Diamondbacks in his most recent start on Aug. 9, allowing a run on one hit with 11 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
“It’s hard to face the same team twice, it’s usually an advantage a little bit more toward the hitters,” Tingler said.
Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. has three home runs in eight career at-bats against Kelly, including one this season. Tatis leads the Padres with a .304 batting average, eight home runs, 16 runs scored, 24 hits and 18 runs batted in in 2020.
His 54 total bases lead the majors.
–Field Level Media