Padres-Diamondbacks Preview

The San Diego Padres have been the NL’s most unflappable team
all season, but a five-game losing streak suddenly has Bud Black’s
club facing some adversity.

They’re about to get a reminder of how their skid started.

Arizona’s Ian Kennedy silenced the Padres last week while the
Diamondbacks pounded Kevin Correia, a mismatch San Diego has to
hope doesn’t repeat itself Tuesday night at Chase Field.

San Diego (76-54) wasn’t concerned after losing 11-5 to visiting
Arizona on Thursday, a game in which Kennedy (8-9, 4.22 ERA) struck
out 12 over seven scoreless innings while Correia was chased in the
fourth inning.

But rather than simply snapping a three-game winning streak,
that defeat was the start of the NL West leaders’ longest slide of
the season. After being swept by visiting Philadelphia over the
weekend, the Padres were burned by a pair of Mark Reynolds homers
in the Diamondbacks’ 7-2 win Monday.

“Every win we can get down the stretch against first-place or
wild-card teams is huge,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to keep
pressing and keep trying to put losses on teams that have a chance
to get to the postseason and play the spoiler role.”

Despite another loss, San Diego’s division lead remains the
same. Colorado rallied to beat San Francisco 2-1, leaving the
second-place Giants five games back.

The Padres haven’t dropped six straight since a seven-game slide
July 5-11, 2009, but to avoid hitting that mark Tuesday they’ll
need to find a better approach to facing Kennedy. The right-hander
has pitched 15 consecutive scoreless innings against the NL’s top
team after holding San Diego to one hit Thursday.

In three starts against the Padres, Kennedy has struck out 27
while walking five.

“(Kennedy) has been tough on us, going back to spring training
in Tucson,” Black told the Padres’ official website. “We saw a lot
of 3-2 changeups, even deep in the game.”

Correia (10-9, 5.29) pitched well enough in his first three
starts against the Diamondbacks (53-79), going 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA,
but he was no match for Kennedy and Arizona on Thursday. The righty
matched a career-high by surrendering nine runs, but a
second-inning walk of Kennedy – which led to Stephen Drew’s
three-run homer – was the mistake he most regretted.

“It’s almost the only thing I’d take back,” Correia said. “You
can’t walk the pitcher in that spot. It really changed the
game.”

Drew is just a .227 hitter against Correia, but Justin Upton
(.351) has had more success. Upton, however, may sit Tuesday after
exiting Monday’s game in the seventh inning with left shoulder
pain.

Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez singled Monday to extend
his hitting streak in Arizona to 10 games, a stretch in which he’s
hit .459 (17 for 37) with four homers.

The All-Star’s success hasn’t meant much, however. San Diego is
5-15 in its past 20 games at Chase Field.