D’backs vs. Padres Series Preview


The next six games are critical for the D’backs.

Heading into a three-game set in San Diego, and then heading home for three against the hapless Marlins, the D’backs have to take advantage of this relatively soft stretch of games to build a cushion in the standings. Because immediately following, the D’backs have nine games against the Reds, Nationals and Braves, a really tough stretch.

But this series in San Diego this weekend is a lot tougher than it may look. First, the Padres are above .500, 22-18, since May 1 and are 19-14 at home. Plus, Petco has been a house of horrors for the Snakes.

Since Petco opened in 2004, the D’backs are a craptastic 34-51 in San Diego. And much of that is during years where the Padres were really bad. The D’backs could really use a good series there this weekend, perhaps stealing a pair before playing Miami.

This year, the D’backs and Friars have split six games, 3-3, with the D’backs winning 2-of-3 in Phoenix and losing 2-of-3 in Petco.

Game 1 (Friday): Trevor Cahill (3-7, 4.02 ERA) vs. Eric Stults (5-5, 3.53 ERA)

Stults has been consistently solid for the Padres, throwing three-straight quality starts and, what I like to call, super-quality starts, which is seven innings or more of two earned runs or less. In his last outing, he beat the Rockies, tossing seven innings, striking out four and only allowing a single earned run. However, Stults’ last start that did not end with a quality start was an outing against the D’backs on May 24, in which he gave up four earned in 6.1 innings. Against the D’backs all time, he’s 3-3 with a 4.58 ERA in eight games (six starts) and 39.1 innings pitched. Cahill was lit up like a severe lightning storm his last time out, giving up eight earned in only 3.2 innings against the Giants on June 8. It was, by far, his worst outing of the season.

Game 2 (Saturday): Wade Miley (4-5, 4.89) vs. Clayton Richard (1-5, 8.06)

Richard, quite simply, has been horrendous this season. He’s had six outings where he’s given up at least five earned and hasn’t lasted longer than six innings. And he hasn’t been better lately, allowing 10 earned in only 10.1 innings pitched in two starts so far in June. In his lone start against the D’backs on May 4, he was knocked around for five earned in 3.2 innings. Miley, unfortunately, has not been very good either recently. He had back-to-back outings on May 25 and MAy 31 where he gave up seven runs. In two outings in June, he’s given up six earned in 12.2 innings. And he’s been lucky to only have given up that few of runs – he was knocked around for 20 hits in those two outings. In two starts against the Friars, he’s 0-2 with 11 earned in 8.2 innings.

Game 3 (Sunday): TBD vs Jason Marquis (8-2, 3.59)

I write “To Be Determined” for the D’backs because Ian Kennedy is the projected starter on Sunday. However, he’s highly likely to be suspended (should be announced today). Unless he appeals the suspension, possible, the D’backs will have to find a spot starter on Sunday. One option for the D’backs would be Josh Collmenter. Collmenter threw two innings in relief on Wednesday, but has been stretched out to as many as four innings this year in a long relief role. Collmenter could easily slid in for five to six innings on Sunday if that’s the way Kirk Gibson goes. Collmenter is 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA in 34.2 innings of work out of the pen this season. In a previous series preview, I implied that Marquis has been getting lucky so far this season. Now I’ll just say it. There’s no way Marquis stays around a 3.50 ERA for the rest of the year. He’s struck out 50 in 77.2 innings this season, but has also walked 43. And a .240 BABIP against screams regression. Once more hits start to fall, all those walks will start to come around to score.