Padres begin weekend series against Arroyo, D’Backs
San Diego Padres' Yasmani Grandal, right, is greeted by teammate Chris Denorfia, left, after hitting a home run off San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Hudson in the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, April 30, 2014, in San Francisco. San Francisco won the game 3-2.
Saddled with baseball’s worst starting rotation, the Arizona Diamondbacks have the most losses in the majors. Yet, they have good reason to think Bronson Arroyo can provide a strong outing Friday night.
Arroyo is coming off a solid showing and now faces the anemic offense of the San Diego Padres – a team he’s dominated recently – in the opener of a three-game set at Petco Park.
Diamondbacks starters own a 6.29 ERA, highest in the big leagues and two runs worse than any other NL team entering Thursday. They’ve surrendered 15 runs over 18 innings in the last three games while giving up 26 hits, including five homers.
With Josh Collmenter on the mound, Arizona (9-22) fell behind 4-0 after three innings Wednesday against Colorado. But Collmenter rebounded for four scoreless innings and Miguel Montero’s walkoff homer in the 10th led the Diamondbacks to a 5-4 victory. Martin Prado forced extras with a two-run single in the ninth.
Arizona had dropped four in a row by a combined seven runs.
"We needed that," manager Kirk Gibson said. "It was good that the guys hung in there."
Arroyo (1-2, 7.77 ERA) has struggled in his first season with the Diamondbacks but limited Philadelphia to two runs over 6 1-3 innings of a 6-5 defeat Saturday. It was the first time in five starts he didn’t allow a homer and he left with a 5-0 lead, but the bullpen blew it.
Arroyo is 3-0 over his last five starts versus San Diego with a 2.18 ERA. Everth Cabrera, Yonder Alonso and Will Venable are a combined 3 for 25 against him since the start of 2011. Plus, Arroyo has a 2.13 career ERA at Petco with two complete games in six outings.
The Padres (13-16) have been baseball’s least productive offense, tallying 77 runs – just 2.7 per game. They finished a 4-6 road trip with a 3-2 loss to San Francisco on Wednesday, the 11th time in 14 games they failed to score more than three runs.
San Diego totaled 17 hits in its three-game series with the Giants and was shut out Tuesday. Wednesday’s only runs came on an RBI groundout and Yasmani Grandal’s home run.
Four of the team’s top five RBI men from 2013 are hitting below .200, including Venable, Alonso, Jedd Gyorko and Chase Headley. Headley has been on the disabled list for a week due to a strained right calf, while Alonso is 0 for 23 over his last seven games.
Chris Denorfia, fourth on the team with 47 RBIs last season, is the lone exception. He is batting .314 and is 11 for 27 over his last six games against the Diamondbacks.
"We’re battling, we’re playing hard but we’re not swinging the bats," manager Bud Black said. "The bullpen’s been solid and the starters pretty much have done their part. We’ve got to get the bats going."
Starter Andrew Cashner (2-3, 2.68) has felt the brunt of San Diego’s offensive struggles. He’s received a total of three runs of support over 24 innings in the four starts he hasn’t won.
Cashner has been shakier lately, allowing four runs over six innings in each of his last two outings after posting a 1.27 ERA over his first four.
The right-hander won both of his starts against Arizona in 2013 despite a 5.25 ERA.
Paul Goldschmidt is 3 for 6 off Cashner while Gerardo Parra is 3 for 7.
San Diego has won 21 of the last 31 meetings, including seven of eight at Petco.