The D-backs return from their longest road trip since 2010 with a bit of a sour taste in their mouths. After going 5-3 in the first eight games, they dropped three in a row in Miami to finish the trip with a losing record.
They arrive back home with a 34-25 record and in third place in the NL West, two games behind Colorado, after having pulled into a tie with the Rockies on Thursday. The good news is that they are back at Chase Field, where their 21-8 record is the best home-field record of any team in the majors.
The Padres (23-35) are at the bottom of the NL West, but they've played better of late -- winning five of their last seven, including a three-game sweep of the world-champion Cubs.
These teams have already played each other 10 times this season, and after this series won't see each other until Sept. 8. The D-backs have won 6 of the 10, including 3 of 4 at Chase Field in late April.
D-backs starting pitcher Robbie Ray (5-3, 3.00 ERA)
Ray is in the midst of the best stretch of his career -- having pitched 24 2/3 consecutive innings without giving up a run. It’s the third longest streak in franchise history, behind only a pair of streaks by Cy Young winner Brandon Webb (42 innings in 2007, 25 in 2006). He's given up eight hits and three walks while striking out 25 in his last three starts.
He fashioned the first shutout of his career in his last outing on Tuesday against the Pirates, striking out 10, surrendering four hits and not issuing a walk. But while his teammates have thrived at home, Ray has been the outlier. He is 4-1 with an 0.64 ERA in six road starts and 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts at home.
Ray threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a 9-1 victory at San Diego on May 20, and he limited the Padres to one hit in seven innings while striking out 13 last August.
"I really feel like I'm getting in the groove with all my pitches," Ray said after his shutout. "The biggest thing for me is picking up the pace a little bit. Get the ball back, get on the rubber, get the sign and go."
Lamet, a 24-year-old rookie with a 95-mph fastball, will be making his third major-league start. He won the first two, holding the Cubs to two runs over five innings last Tuesday after limiting the Mets to one run in five innings in his major-league debut. In 10 innings, he's struck out 16, walked three and allowed eight hits.
He was 3-2 with a 3.23 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A El Paso before getting called up. He's averaged 10.1 strikeouts and 3.8 walks per nine innings with a 2.99 ERA in his minor-league career.
Lamet has risen quickly through the Padres system since signing as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2014. It was a year ago today that he was promoted from Class A Lake Elsinore to Double-A San Antonio.
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Home sweet home
While Ray's stats might beg to differ, the Diamondbacks should be relieved to be back at Chase Field. That's especially true for their hitters, who continued a worrisome season-long trend of being unable to generate much offense on the road.
The numbers have become all-too familiar. On the road, they rank 29th in the majors in batting average (.219), are tied for 25th in home runs (28) and are 27th in runs per game (3.6). At home, they're first in batting average (.295) and runs per game (6.0) and second in home runs (47).
The most pronounced splits are owned by Brandon Drury (.183, one homer, 6 RBI away vs. .389, 3, 14 at home) and Yasmany Tomas (.183, 2, 7 away vs. .298, 6, 25 at home). Tomas, who has been troubled by a groin injury, was 3 for 24 on the road trip and hasn't homered since May 16. Chris Owings was 0 for 13 in Miami and is in a 3-for-27 slump.
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Padres present one of the more unusual batting profiles in the majors. They are last in the majors in batting average (.221), 29th in runs (3.4 per game) and 17th in home runs (67).
Catcher Austin Hedges (11 home runs, .214) and outfielder Hunter Renfroe (11 homers, .227) are typical of what to expect from the Padres' lineup. Hedges has homered in three of his last four games.
But third baseman Ryan Schimpf takes the all-or-nothing profile to an extreme. He is hitting .161 with 26 hits and 67 strikeouts in 51 games. His 26 hits include 10 singles, two doubles and 14 home runs. He has six hits in his last 11 games -- five of them have left the ballpark.
The D-backs are very familiar with Schimpf's mysterious ways. He has six home runs in nine games at Chase Field -- including two this season -- and nine home runs in 21 career games vs. the D-backs.