A continuous problem for the San Diego Padres this season is scoring runs.
It has been the case in the first two games of this series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it could again be tough to push runs across the plate Sunday against scheduled starter Paul Maholm(notes), trying to build on one of his best starts of the year.
The Padres (67-82) are last in the majors in runs (574) and have been limited to three runs and 11 hits in the first two games of this series in Pittsburgh.
“It was one of those days we couldn’t really get the big hit, we couldn’t score runs,” said Chase Headley(notes), who scored the winner after reaching on an error. “Sometimes you have to win ugly. You try to put the ball in play, and good things happen sometimes. Fortunately, it got away from them a little and we were able to capitalize on it.”
Gonzalez is hitless in seven at-bats in this series and is batting .091 in his last four games. Breaking out of his slump against Maholm (8-8, 4.51 ERA) won’t be easy. He’s 0 for 6 with three strikeouts lifetime against the Pirates starter and is hitting .225 versus left-handers on the season - 80 points lower than his batting average against right-handers.
Maholm is coming off a stellar outing against Houston, allowing six hits in eight shutout innings of last Sunday’s 2-1 win. It was the third time in five starts he yielded one run or fewer.
“I’ve been feeling good lately,” he said.
Maholm’s victory last weekend was his second in 11 starts since the All-Star break, but the lack of wins hasn’t entirely been his fault.
Pittsburgh (56-90) is a major league-worst 3-18 since Aug. 28 and the offense hasn’t been much better than San Diego’s, scoring the second-fewest runs in the majors (580). This has left Maholm with a 3.38 run support average since the break, one of the worst in the majors.
He has encountered a similar problem in his two career starts against the Padres. Despite recording a 3.07 ERA, Maholm is 0-1 with his offense backing him with one run.
Correia is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts this month after yielding nine runs over 12 1-3 innings in his final two August outings. The right-hander gave up two runs and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings of last Saturday’s 4-2, 10-inning loss to Arizona.
This is Correia’s first start against the Pirates since April 24, when he allowed three runs, three hits and four walks in five innings of a 4-3, 11-inning victory.