After Friday night’s 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres, the Arizona Diamondbacks are 39-51 for the season and in last place in the National League West.
Arizona is 2-9 against the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and 2-8 against the second-place Padres heading into the final two games before the All-Star break.
Against everyone else, the Diamondbacks are 35-34.
“We’re seeing good signs,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said recently. “We just need to keep doing the right things and take the next step forward.”
That would be beating the Dodgers and Padres — and the visiting Diamondbacks might have an excellent opportunity Saturday night against the host Padres when Tyler Gilbert (0-3, 5.33 ERA) starts for Arizona against Sean Manaea (4-4, 4.09) in a matchup of left-handers.
Last Aug. 14, Gilbert, in his first career start, pitched a no-hitter against the Padres at Chase Field in Phoenix. He had three walks and five strikeouts. It was the third nine-inning no-hitter in Diamondbacks’ history and the first at Chase Field.
It was only the fourth no-hitter in major league history by a pitcher making his first career start — and only the second in the modern era.
Now 28, Gilbert on Saturday will make his sixth Diamondbacks’ start (seventh appearance) of a 2022 season that has been split between Arizona and the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate.
And while his big league aren’t great — 16 runs (15 earned) on 24 hits and eight walks with 17 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings — his last two starts have been impressive.
Pitching at home against division rivals San Francisco and Colorado, Gilbert allowed one run on seven hits and two walks with three strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings for an ERA of 0.96.
Although this will be Gilbert’s first appearance at Petco Park, he has had more work against the Padres than any other team in the majors. He is 1-1 in his career against the Padres, with a 1.69 ERA and 0.875 WHIP in three appearances (two starts). He has allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits and five walks with 11 strikeouts in 16 innings.
Meanwhile, the Padres are looking to end the first half on a high note after losing three straight at Coors Field.
“It would be nice to go into the All-Star break on a positive note and try to put a bad stretch behind us,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said.
“These three games could be significant in that. Our timing hasn’t been great lately. We score four, five or six runs, and then we give up six or seven. We were more consistent in our play and how we went about it and how we won games earlier in the season.”
Manaea will make his 17th start Saturday and his third against the Diamondbacks. On April 8, he held them hitless with one walk and seven strikeouts over seven innings.
On June 21 at Petco Park, he gave up two runs on four hits and three walks, with six strikeouts, in six innings.
–Field Level Media