Diamondbacks-Padres Preview: Battle of the Basement
By Thomas Lynch
Brandon McCarthy looks to get the D’backs going Friday night against the Padres. Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Diamondbacks will be taking on the San Diego Padres this weekend in a three game series at Petco Park. The D’backs, at 33-48, sit two games behind the Padres in the National League West standings. These two teams, along with fellow division member Colorado Rockies could easily be described as the three most disappointing teams in the National League. Earlier this week, San Diego fired their general manager, Josh Byrnes, who was let go as GM of the Snakes in July 2010. If the Rockies decided to go in a different management direction, perhaps they could hire Byrnes and complete the basement triple play.
Game 1: Brandon McCarthy (1-10, 5.38 ERA) vs. Tyson Ross (6-7, 3.22 ERA)
Game 2: Josh Collmenter (6-4, 3.87 ERA) vs. Eric Stults (2-10, 5.49 ERA)
Game 3: Mike Bolsinger (1-3, 4.78 ERA) vs. Odrisamer Despaigne (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
There is no use bringing up McCarthy’s poor performance in 2014. Maybe a start against the offensively-challenged Padres is just what the 30-year old right hander needs to get his second win. It won’t be easy against Ross who has been his club’s best starter this season. Over his last six starts, Ross has alternated between good and bad outings. He went seven innings and allowed two earned runs in his last start. On Tuesday, Collmenter made his first relief appearance since April 9th when he pitched a scoreless inning to secure the victory in the D’backs’ 14 inning win over the Cleveland Indians. Left-hander Stults is tied with McCarthy with the most losses in the league. Like Ross, Stults pitched seven innings of two run ball in his last outing. Bolsinger has allowed only four earned runs in 14 innings since his recall from Triple A Reno. Despaigne had a resounding debut on Monday, hurling seven shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants. He was signed by the Padres on May 5th as an amateur free agent from Cuba.
Once again, the Friars are one of the weaker offensive clubs in baseball. For the second time in a year, they were no-hit by Tim Lincecum, who is clearly not the Freak of four years ago. One notable exception has been outfielder Seth Smith, who is among the league leaders in triples with four and sports a line of .290/.397/.516. No matter how bad it is in San Diego, the team always seems to have a solid bullpen. This year is no different as closer Huston Street is a perfect 20 for 20 in save opportunities with a 0.96 ERA. Joaquin Benoit, Dale Thayer and Alex Torres all have ERA’s under 2.00.
If Arizona is to catch and/or pass San Diego in the standings this weekend, it needs to score four runs per game. The Padres are last in the NL in almost every major offensive category including a frightening on-base percentage of .273. If the D’backs are behind after six or seven innings, the back of the Padre bullpen is lethal. Score early and not even all that often and they have an excellent chance of taking this series.