The San Diego Padres are among the worst offensive teams in baseball, though they’ve managed to put together a strong stretch thanks to the home run.
Playing the biggest part in that is Matt Kemp, who looks to continue his offensive surge as Padres face the Miami Marlins on Saturday night.
San Diego’s .236 average is only better than the New York Mets’ .233. That’s a big reason why the Padres (45-52) are 7 1/2 games back of San Francisco for the second wild-card spot.
However, they’ve managed to win six of nine despite batting .216, hitting 12 home runs in that span with 17 of their 28 runs coming via the long ball.
All of their scoring came in that fashion Friday, with Kemp, Yonder Alonso and Brett Wallace connecting as San Diego snapped a three-game skid with a 3-1 win over Miami (41-56).
”When I hit mine and the next pitch Matt hits his, we just felt that momentum of energy that we had stocked up just explode,” Alonso said.
Kemp is San Diego’s hottest hitter, batting .386 (17 for 44) with five homers, six doubles and 11 RBIs in his last 12 games.
The right fielder is hitting .403 in his last 16 games against Miami, while Alonso is a .370 hitter (17 for 46) in 12 matchups at Petco Park.
Ian Kennedy (5-9, 4.78 ERA) wouldn’t mind seeing that kind of production Saturday. He has a 2.98 ERA over his last nine starts but is 3-4 since he’s received two runs or fewer in seven of those outings.
The right-hander got enough Monday, allowing two runs with six strikeouts in six innings of a 4-2 win over San Francisco after losing his four previous starts.
Kennedy has been outstanding in his last three starts against the Marlins, posting a 1.40 ERA while winning his only decision.
San Diego has won seven of nine at home with the Marlins, who are hitting .204 and averaging 1.9 runs over that stretch.
Poor road play has become commonplace for Miami, which has dropped 16 of 21 away from home after its season-best three-game winning streak ended Friday. The Marlins’ 17-33 road record is among the worst in the majors.
Giving the ball to David Phelps (4-6, 3.91) isn’t likely to help. The right-hander is 0-4 with a 7.67 ERA in his last five road starts.
He gave up three runs and seven hits with a season-high four walks over 5 2-3 innings in a 3-1 loss at Arizona on Monday.
"Fastball command’s usually what I’m best at, and tonight it was just off the plate, off the plate, off the plate," Phelps told MLB’s official website.
Justin Bour is 11 for 30 with four doubles and eight RBIs in his past nine games after he went 2 for 4 with an RBI Friday.
Fellow rookie J.T. Realmuto should be back behind the plate after getting a day off and appearing as a pinch-runner. He’s 11 for 32 (.344) with two homers, four doubles and eight RBIs in the last eight games he’s started.