Diamondbacks face Padres, hoping to avoid NL West cellar
PHOENIX -- Arizona and San Diego enter the final series of the regular season in search of smaller victories, unfortunately about all that is left to accomplish in a down year for each.
Diamondbacks second baseman Jean Segura, whose credentials as a leadoff man were questioned following his offseason acquisition, enters the three-game series with a career-high 201 hits.
Segura has a commanding nine-hit lead over Colorado's DJ LeMahieu and the Dodgers' Corey Seager in an attempt to lead the league in that category, and he is five hits from tying Luis Gonzalez's franchise record of 206 hits set in 1999.
The only way the D-backs (66-93) can avoid a disappointing last-place finish in the NL West is with a sweep. The Padres (68-91) have won nine of the first 16 meetings while outscoring the D-backs, 92-69.
San Diego rookie right fielder Hunter Renfroe looks to continue his final-week binge in his first appearance at Chase Field, one of the most hitter-friendly parks in baseball.
Renfroe, who was promoted when the minor league season ended in the third week of September, has home runs in three of his last four starts, and his work in the first two games of the recently completed Los Angeles series was particularly memorable.
Renfroe had two homers and seven RBIs in a 7-1 victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday, book-ending his night with a three-run homer in the first inning and a grand slam in the eighth.
The most impressive line in that night's box scores:
Two-out RBIs: Renfroe 7.
He had four RBIs the next night on a two-run single in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third in the Padres' 7-6 victory. He had a single in the final game of the series and is hitting .360.
"I love Hunter Renfroe's even-keel demeanor," said Padres manager Andy Green, who was Arizona's third base coach in 2015.
Arizona rookie right-hander Braden Shipley, 4-5 with a 5.26 ERA, will make his 11th major league start Friday, his third against the Padres this season and his first against them at Chase Field. He has given up nine runs in 9 2/3 innings in the previous two starts.
San Diego is expected to start right-hander Edwin Jackson, whose 14-year, 11-team trek through the majors includes a brief stop with the Diamondbacks. He threw a 149-pitch no-hitter for Arizona at Tampa Bay on June 2, 2010.
Jackson, 5-6 with a 5.77 ERA, will be remembered as part of the package the D-backs received in a three-team trade in the winter of 2009 that sent eventual Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to the Tigers. The D-backs also landed Ian Kennedy from the Yankees, who received Curtis Granderson as their major piece.
Jackson beat San Francisco in his last outing, and seven of his 12 starts for the Padres have been quality starts.
Segura has been a bright light in his first season with the Diamondbacks, out-shining bigger-name offseason acquisitions Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, neither of whom will take a turn in the final series.
With three singles in a rain-shortened 3-0 victory at Washington on Wednesday, Segura reached 200 hits and became the 14th player in major league history to have 200 hits, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in the regular season.
Others on that list include Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Larry Walker and Vladimir Guerrero. Jacoby Ellsbury was the most recent addition, when he had 212 hits, 29 homers and 51 stolen bases with Boston in 2011.
Segura singled in three plate appearances Thursday before leaving in the seventh inning with cramping in his rib cage.
"We're hoping it's OK so he can continue his quest for Gonzo's record," Arizona manager Chip Hale told reporters.