D’backs vs. Padres Series Preview
The Padres (11-17) are on a semi-hot streak. They’ve won six of their last eight games, including a three-game sweep of the Giants. Before that streak, the Padres were 5-15 and looking like one of the worst teams in the league. However, as usual, their pitching has turned it around as of last, allowing only 4.13 runs per game over the last eight. Also as usual, The Padres’ strength has been the bullpen, compiling a 3.13 ERA in 97.2 innings.
Contrarily, the D’backs (15-13) are coming off being swept at the hands of the Giants, thanks in large part to the bullpen, who accounted for all three losses. Brad Ziegler picked up the loss on Monday, J.J. Putz on Tuesday and David Hernandez on Wednesday. It was an all-around rough series for the pen, adding to the now 10 blown saves on the season. The interesting part, though, is that the D’backs’ pen still owns a 3.08 ERA on the season, good enough for 11th-best in the league. The runs they have given up have come in the worst time of the game it seems. Law of averages say that would turn around at some point, but who knows when.
In the series with the Friars, the D’backs probably have their three best guys on the hill to try to give the pen a break and get back on track.
This will be the first series of the year between the Pads and the Snakes. The Friars got the best of the D’backs in 2012, though, winning 11-of-18.
Game 1 (Friday): Wade Miley (2-0, 2.37 ERA) vs. Jason Marquis (2-2, 4.20 ERA)
Miley is coming off, by far, his worst start of the season. It was also the only start that Miley did not allow a single run. Miley walked seven guys in only 4.1 innings against the Rockies on April 27. That doubled his season total in walks allowed – he had walked only seven in his four previous starts. Miraculously, Miley did not allow any of those seven walks to score, mostly due to three ground-ball double plays the infield turned. Miley will be all out of miracles if he repeats that performance. Marquis also only has one really poor start on the season. Unfortuantely for him, that bad start resulted in seven more runs scoring than Mileys. Marquis allowed seven in only 4.2 innings against the Brewers on April 22. Outsides of that, Marquis has been solid for the Padres.
Game 2 (Saturday): Patrick Corbin (3-0, 1.91) vs. Clayton Richard (0-3, 7.94)
Corbin has been a revelation this season. I’ve written about him several times this season and there’s not much more I can say. He’s been superb and there’s nothing to suggest he won’t keep it up. Obviously, he won’t have a 1.91 ERA all season long, and his HR/FB rate is unsustainable at 2.1 percent, but even if it regresses to last year’s number of eight percent, Corbin will be just fine. And that rate probably won’t make a big jump in this start in Petco, even with their fences moved in. On the flip side, Richard has been hit hard and often so far this season. He’s had one good start, a shutout six-inning affair against the Rockies on April 14. In his last appearance he was knocked around for five runs in five innings against the Cubs on April 29.
Game 3 (Sunday): Ian Kennedy (1-2, 4.78) vs. Edinson Volquez (2-3, 6.39)
Unfortunately for the D’backs, this is probably the type of pitcher they can expect from Kennedy now. All of his peripherals show that Kennedy is prone to give up a lot of fly balls, and in Chase Field, many times those fly balls fly on out, including in his last start against the Giants on April 29, where he gave up four runs in seven innings. In addition, this year, his walk rate has increased while his strikeout rate has decreased. That’s not a good sign for a pitcher with fringy stuff to begin with. However, Kennedy is also better than his 4.78 ERA so far. Expect him to get much closer to 4 soon, and an outing at pitcher friendly Petco may just be the start he needs. Volquez, like Richard, has only had one good start this season. He threw seven shutout innings on April 24 against the Brewers, striking out three and only allowing five hits. However, in his last start, he gave up four runs in only 5.2 innings against the Cubs.