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.