Friday -- Padres 4, D-backs 2; Errors doom Ray, D-backs in opener. Saturday -- Padres 7, D-backs 2; Upton's homer fuels San Diego. Sunday -- RHP Chase Anderson (3-2, 3.54) vs. RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (3-5, 4.83), 12:30 p.m., FOX Sports Arizona.
Ahmed's confidence rising?
Shortstop Nick Ahmed's first opportunity to lead off came against Colorado lefty Jorge De La Rosa for good reason, but under the microscope of the past few weeks, handedness hasn't mattered when he's up to bat. Ahmed is slashing .314/.400/.486 in the last 14 days with an RBI in four of his last six games.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsMark J. Rebilas
A cold opponent
For D-backs pitchers, there should be some relief after leaving the thin air of the Mile High city. Arizona allowed eight home runs in a three-game series at Coors Field, the most hitter-friendly park in MLB. Probably more importantly, the D-backs will be glad to go from facing a Rockies team hitting .276 in June to a Padres squad with a .231 average this month.
Testing their mettle
This series appears especially important considering the three Diamondbacks pitchers hit the mound coming off tough times. Although it wasn't a terrible performance, Robbie Ray returns from his worst outing (of a small sample size), in which he allowed three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings to San Diego. Jeremy Hellickson left his last start ahead, but strained a back muscle in an awkward at-bat. Then there's Chase Anderson, who uncharacteristically gave up three home runs to the Rockies last time out, doubling his season total in one game.
Seeing the slider
The Diamondbacks found success against Padres pitchers James Shields and Andrew Cashner lat weekend, but the mystery of how to connect ball to bat against Tyson Ross eluded them. Ross struck out nine Arizona batters -- all with an unidentifiable slider -- and went nine innings, allowing just four hits. Will a little review of the film help them turn it around Friday?