The Arizona Diamondbacks have held onto first place for almost half the season, but that run could be coming to an end.
They’ll try to avoid dropping out of the top spot in the NL West as they continue their three-game series against the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
Arizona (43-44) has held sole possession of first place in the division for 80 straight games since April 7—the longest such streak in franchise history. But its lead is down to one-half game after a 5-1 loss on Friday to the Padres (34-53) and the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers’ win at San Francisco.
If the Dodgers win Saturday and the Diamondbacks lose again to the Padres, Arizona will be in second place.
Arizona won 20 of its first 25 games against NL West foes, but has now dropped four straight within the division. It has scored just 106 runs since the start of June—the second-lowest total in baseball—and managed only five hits Friday, one day after scoring six runs in the bottom of the ninth in a 6-5 win over Milwaukee.
“We didn’t look like we were rolling off the emotion of yesterday,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said.
The Diamondbacks need youngsters like Chris Young and Justin Upton to get untracked. The 24-year-old Young is hitting .230 since the start of June and the 20-year-old Upton is even worse in the same span at .148.
San Diego, meanwhile, has the second-worst offense in the majors with 324 runs. But the Padres had five different players drive in runs Friday to win for only the second time in 12 games.
Jake Peavy (5-5, 2.90 ERA) will get the start for San Diego in the NL ballpark where he’s pitched his worst. He is 3-6 with a 6.18 ERA in 11 career outings at Chase Field—his highest ERA at any current park in the league.
This is Peavy’s second start of the season against the Diamondbacks. He gave up two runs over seven innings and was outpitched by Brandon Webb in a 2-1 home loss on April 27.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with a 3.94 ERA in his last three starts. He yielded three runs and 10 hits in six innings in a 9-2 loss to Seattle on Sunday.
Doug Davis (3-3, 3.79) has pitched very well for Arizona in his last four starts, but did not figure in the decision in any of them until his last outing. He won for the first time since May 23 on Monday by yielding three runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 6-3 victory over Milwaukee.
“It was kind of like vintage Doug Davis,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “He could always bend a little bit but he’d never break, and he didn’t again tonight.”
Davis’ teams have won seven straight starts against San Diego, including three since he joined Arizona last season. The left-hander went 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA in three outings versus the Padres in 2007, and hasn’t faced them yet this year.