Attempting to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat, the Padres will try to beat the struggling left-hander for the third time this month Monday night at Chase Field.
San Diego (76-53) ended its three-game set against Philadelphia in uncharacteristic fashion. One of the major leagues’ top fielding teams, the Padres committed four errors during a 5-0 defeat Sunday.
They also continued to struggle at the plate, producing just five singles. San Diego has been outscored 22-8 while batting .165 over the past four games.
The Padres’ lead in the NL West has been cut from 6 1/2 games Wednesday to five going into Monday.
“This is no time to panic,” third baseman Chase Headley(notes) said. “You only have to look at the Phillies. Coming in, they had lost six of eight and were swept at home by Houston. Then, they turn it around and come out here and sweep us. We’re capable of getting this turned around just like the Phillies did.”
Facing Saunders (1-4, 5.21 ERA) could be a good way to start. The Padres pounded the left-hander for a career-high nine runs - six earned - over four innings in their last win Wednesday.
“It wasn’t a good night,” Saunders said. “I couldn’t command anything. I fell behind, and they hurt me. It’s frustrating. It’s embarrassing to go out there and give up that many runs. Hats off to them. They are a good ballclub.
“The way I’ve been pitching, I’m making them look like Babe Ruth out there.”
The Padres also started the left-hander’s career-worst four-start slide Aug. 8, reaching him for six runs over six innings of a 10-1 defeat at Chase Field.
Saunders, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on July 25, went 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his first two starts for the Diamondbacks (52-79) but has a 7.77 ERA during his losing streak.
The Padres will give the ball to Wade LeBlanc(notes) (8-11, 3.86), who earned the victory Wednesday. After giving up seven runs in a 10-6 loss at Milwaukee on Aug. 20, he responded by allowing three runs over 6 2-3 innings against Arizona.
LeBlanc will attempt to earn his fourth win in five outings. The left-hander, 1-0 with a 3.57 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks, did not get a decision in his only start at Chase Field on Sept. 26 when he gave up four runs in five innings.
The Padres are 10-5 against the Diamondbacks this season, but have dropped four of six meetings at Chase Field and are 5-14 in their last 19 at the stadium.
Arizona had a three-game win streak snapped with a 9-7 defeat to San Francisco on Sunday, closing a six-game trip that began with two losses in three games to San Diego.