With Schilling back and Johnson on his way, the Diamondbacks look to continue their resurgence in the opener of a four-game series with the San Diego Padres at Qualcomm Stadium.
Schilling will start Thursday’s series opener, making just his second start since missing six weeks with a broken hand.
Johnson has not pitched since April 28 while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Manager Bob Brenly said over the weekend the five-time Cy Young Award winner could return to start Sunday’s game at San Diego, though Johnson struggled Tuesday in his third rehab start.
“I feel good,” Johnson said after giving up five runs and 11 hits in six innings for Class-A Lancaster. “I’m encouraged by being able to go six innings and have (my knee) react the way it did.”
The Diamondbacks were five games below .500 as recently as June 6, but have gone 24-9 even without Schilling and Johnson for most of that span. They’ve climbed within five games of first-place San Francisco in the NL West, and within one game of wild card-leading Philadelphia.
Schilling struggled in his return from the disabled list on Saturday. The right-hander served up two homers as he gave up five runs—four earned—in six innings of an 8-1 loss to San Francisco.
“I felt fine. Everything felt good,” Schilling said. “I just didn’t get the job done today.”
The Padres did not get the job done throughout the first half of the season. They own the NL’s worst record entering the All-Star break with at least 60 losses for just the third time in franchise history.
The good news for San Diego is that outfielder Phil Nevin could be returning by the end of the month. Nevin, who has yet to play this season due to a dislocated shoulder suffered in spring training, began his rehab assignment over the weekend.
STANDINGS: Diamondbacks - 2nd place, 5 GB, NL West. Padres - 5th place, 23 GB, NL West.
DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Schilling (4-4, 3.27 ERA). The hard-throwing right-hander was 3-1 with a 1.40 ERA in his five starts prior to the injury. The last two of those came against San Diego. He went 1-1, yielding three runs in 13 2-3 innings. Schilling is 14-8 with a 2.67 ERA lifetime against San Diego.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Peavy (8-7, 4.55 ERA). The All-Star break came at a good time for Peavy. He had won four straight starts before losing both of his appearances in July, allowing 13 runs and 15 hits—including six homers— in nine innings. The second of those bad outings came against the Diamondbacks. Peavy has lost both of his starts against them this year, getting ripped for 14 runs in 9 2-3 innings. He’s 1-4 with an 11.10 ERA all-time against Arizona.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .310 avg., 18 HRs, 67 RBIs and 63 runs; David Dellucci and Tony Womack, 8 SBs. Padres - Mark Loretta, .310 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 19 HRs; Rondell White and Klesko, 52 RBIs; Xavier Nady, 43 runs; Gary Matthews and Ramon Vazquez, 7 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Diamondbacks, 6-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Diamondbacks - 2B Matt Kata has had at least two hits in 12 of his 24 games with Arizona since being called up in mid-June. … OF Quinton McCracken, who was batting .200 through June, is hitting .343 (12-for-35) this month. … The Diamondbacks have won 11 of 15 on the road. Padres - 3B Sean Burroughs has reached base in 17 straight games. … RHP Rod Beck has converted all eight of his save opportunities since joining San Diego in early June. … 1B Klesko has struck out 12 times in 36 career at-bats against RHP Schilling.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Diamondbacks - 24-21 on the road; Padres - 18-29 at home.
INJURIES: Diamondbacks - C Rod Barajas (wrist), 15-day DL; INF Junior Spivey (ankle), 15-day DL; INF Womack (knee), 15-day DL; OF Danny Bautista (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Johnson (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Bret Prinz (groin), 60-day DL. Padres - INF Keith Lockhart (back), 15-day DL; OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; OF Nevin (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL.