Shields, Padres face Rockies Monday Night
Colorado’s Nolan Arenado has been to an All-Star Game and won a Silver Slugger Award thanks in part to the kind of torrid stretch he’s riding right now.
Now the third baseman will try to build on his lofty numbers versus James Shields on Monday night when the Rockies chase their first four-game winning streak since July in the opener of a three-game road series against the San Diego Padres.
Arenado has picked up where he left off last season when he tied Bryce Harper for the NL home run title with 42 and led the league with 130 RBIs and 354 total bases.
On Sunday, the three-time Gold Glove award winner surpassed rookie teammate Trevor Story to take the major league lead with his 11th homer in a 6-3 win at Arizona. He also knocked in three runs, raising his MLB-leading total to 25.
Arenado is 10 for 22 with four homers in his last five games for Colorado (12-12), which moved into a tie for first place in the NL West following its first sweep at Arizona since 2004.
"He literally impacts the game on both sides of the ball almost every single day," manager Walt Weiss told the league’s official website. "That’s why it’s so hard to give him a day off."
Arenado will try to lead the Rockies to their longest winning streak since they last ran off four straight from July 9-12. He’s batting .322 with five home runs in his last 16 games at San Diego and is 12 for 23 with four homers versus Shields.
Shields has four quality starts in his first five outings, but he’s dropped his first four decisions for the first time in his career. The Padres haven’t scored for him in three of those starts, and he has the second-lowest run-support average in the majors at 1.36.
The right-hander is coming off his best performance Tuesday when he allowed one run and three hits over seven innings in a 1-0 loss at San Francisco. He had won six straight decisions versus Colorado before surrendering four runs and six hits – including three homers – over seven innings in a 6-3 road loss April 10.
Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Ryan Raburn took him deep in that one. Gonzalez is batting .360 with three homers in 25 at-bats against Shields (0-4, 3.55 ERA).
The Padres (9-16) fell short of their first sweep Sunday when they managed only three hits off Clayton Kershaw in a 1-0 road loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"There’s more fight in us, and we’ve got to get that fight out of us," manager Andy Green said after his team’s sixth loss in eight games.
Matt Kemp has been a bright spot, going 12 for 33 with two homers in his last eight games. He’s batting .410 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs over his past 15 versus Colorado.
Jon Gray (0-0, 11.42) will try to keep the Padres scuffling, but he’s allowed 11 runs and 16 hits over 8 2/3 innings in his first two starts. The third overall pick in 2013 is still seeking his first big league victory, going 0-2 with a 6.57 ERA in 11 starts.
The right-hander, though, has been at his best versus San Diego, surrendering one run and six hits with 11 strikeouts over 10 innings in two career meetings.
The Rockies dropped two of three at home to the Padres from April 8-10.