Padres, Diamondbacks battling for last in NL West

SAN DIEGO — Archie Bradley could be safe Tuesday night.

There doesn't seem to be any animosity between the Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks in their battle for last place in the National League West.

That certainly wasn't the case for Bradley in his most recent start against the division-leading Dodgers last Thursday at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Bradley came hard inside when pitching rival Rich Hill was trying to put down a sacrifice bunt and the Dodger claimed the pitch hit his left index finger as well as the bat.

Words were exchanged and benches cleared in the latest dust-up between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks dating back to 2013.

“It's just two guys playing the game hard, nothing more than that,” Bradley said after the Dodgers game. “I was going in before he squared to bunt. Maybe the pitch was more in than it should have been. It's the game so, sorry.”

There should be no such problems Tuesday night at Petco Park as the right-handed Bradley (7-9, 5.07 earned run average) squares off against Padres right-hander Paul Clemens, who is 2-5 with a 4.84 ERA in 13 appearances (nine starts) as a Padre.

Bradley, who was Arizona's first-round pick (seventh overall) in the 2011 draft, is 3-1 with three quality starts and a 5.19 ERA over his last five starts.

“Archie has had his best stuff the last couple times out,” said Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale. “Mechanically, he is much better. His fastball velocity has been up, his breaking ball has been good and his changeup has been working for him.”

Bradley will be making his fourth start against the Padres. He is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA (12 earned runs in 18 innings) against the Padres.

Clemens, meanwhile, is coming off his best start as a Padre. On Sept. 12 in San Francisco, Clemens shut out the Giants on three hits and a walk over five innings while battling the flu.

“It was quite an effort,” said Padres manager Andy Green. “He didn't feel well at all.”

The performance still left some questions.

Clemens has yet to go beyond 5 1/3 innings in any of his nine starts. And his velocity has fallen off in the fourth innings of most of his outings.

“We can judge anything off how he pitched in San Francisco,” said Green. “But to be a major league starter, you need to be able to pitch into the sixth and the seventh and carry your stuff and velocity.”

Because of the flu, Clemens was given an extra two days off before facing the Diamondbacks for the third time this season and the second time as a starter. On Aug. 18, Clemens gave up three runs to the Diamondbacks on eight hits and three walks in just five innings.

“I still don't think I've shown what I can really do,” said Clemens. “I'm getting closer, but I'm not where I want to be yet.”

The Padres and Diamondbacks enter Tuesday night's game in a deadheat for fourth — or last — in the National League West. Both teams have 63-87 records.