Peavy is perfect on the road and against the NL Central this season, and has never lost to the Cincinnati Reds. All three records, as well as an impressive scoreless innings streak, are at stake when the Padres try to end a disappointing road trip on a positive note.
They should have a good shot to do it behind Peavy (12-5, 2.21 ERA), who leads the NL with 159 strikeouts and is second in the majors in ERA behind teammate Chris Young (2.02). Peavy has not given up a run in 19 consecutive innings since allowing one in the first inning of a 9-4 win at Houston on July 27.
In winning his last three starts, Peavy has yielded just 10 hits and five walks while striking out 23.
The All-Star right-hander has a major league-best 0.89 road ERA, going 6-0 in nine starts while holding opponents to a .156 batting average.
“I don’t know, it’s just one of those things,” Peavy said. “I’m certainly comfortable pitching on the road, but I’m comfortable at home, too.”
He’s dominated no division this season more than the NL Central, with a 5-0 record and 0.90 ERA in six starts. The only start he didn’t win came against Cincinnati on May 16, overcoming a two-run first inning to hold the Reds scoreless over the next six before the Padres won it in the ninth, 3-2.
San Diego (62-54) has won all seven starts Peavy has made against the Reds as he’s gone 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA.
All of those numbers bode well for a team that is 2-4 on a road trip which has seen catcher Michael Barrett and infielder Scott Hairston land on the disabled list, and popular clubhouse figure David Wells get designated for assignment. The Padres won 12-7 in 11 innings in the opener of this series, but have been held to 13 runs in the other five games.
Brian Giles provided San Diego’s only offense on Saturday with two home runs in an 8-3 loss. Giles has three homers and five RBIs in this series after going homerless with seven RBIs over his previous 21 games.
Besides looking to avoid their fourth straight series loss to San Diego, the Reds are trying to win their third consecutive series overall.
One reason they’re in position to do so is the hot bat of Norris Hopper, who is batting .421 (16-for-38) during a career-high nine-game hitting streak. Jeff Keppinger also has been playing well, going 10-for-21 (.476) with seven RBIs in six games this month.
The Reds (50-66) counter Peavy with Bronson Arroyo (5-12, 4.51), who is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his last four home starts while walking four and striking out 19.
Arroyo bounced back from an awful outing to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, yielding six hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-0 victory. He failed to get out of the second inning in his previous start as he was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in a 7-2 loss at Washington on Aug. 1.
“I think he wanted to make a statement that his last start was a fluke, and he certainly did that,” Reds interim manager Pete Mackanin said.
The outing against the Nationals was an aberration for Arroyo, who has pitched fairly well over the past six weeks with a 3-4 record and 3.34 ERA in his last nine starts.
He notched his lone complete game of the season against the Padres on May 16 but lost to Peavy. Only one of the three runs Arroyo allowed in eight innings was earned and he threw a season-high 129 pitches.
Arroyo is 2-3 with a 3.49 ERA in five starts versus San Diego.