As September call-ups emerge, the Diamondbacks head to San Diego to play the third place Padres.
Arizona is coming off of a 4-4 home stand, and recently just took two of three games from the Rockies to close it out. On Friday night, the Diamondbacks put together a four-run eighth inning to come back and pick up starter Josh Collmenter in a 5-2 win. Left hander Vidal Nuno's run of bad luck continued on Saturday night, as he was unable to pick up the win despite giving up just a run on two hits over eight innings. Arizona lost the game 2-0. The Diamondbacks put together a four-run seventh inning on Sunday afternoon behind a pinch-hit home run from newly acquired Nolan Reimold, which powered them to a 6-2 win. Arizona has lost six of their last ten games and head out on the road, where they are 28-36 this season. They are 57-79 overall, 19.5 games behind the Dodgers for first place in the NL West. They're 7.5 games behind the Padres for third place.
The Diamondbacks offense is atrocious, ranking 28th in the majors in wRC+ (87) and 25th in offensive WAR (10.7), batting .249/.304/.382 with a.303 wOBA. Without Paul Goldschmidt, this team appears to be powerless, ranking 18th in ISO (.133) and in slugging percentage (.382). Their pitching staff has struggled as well, ranking 25th in the majors in team ERA (4.21), 20th in FIP (3.88), and 25th in pitching WAR (8.6). They actually feature some solid power arms, doing well enough to rank 11th in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings (7.97 K/9).
San Diego's offense is even worse, ranking dead last in the league in wRC+ (81) and 28th in offensive WAR (8.3), batting .226/.290/.343 with a .283 wOBA. They struggle when they make contact and have almost no power, ranking dead last in BABIP (.275) and ISO (.117). Their staff, however, is one of the best in baseball, ranking third in team ERA (3.14) and fourth in FIP (3.46). They are one of the best in the business in avoiding the long ball, putting together the fourth-lowest home run rate in the bigs (0.73 HR/9).
The Padres come into their series after taking two of three games from the Dodgers at home. They're looking to cap off a ten-game home stand after going 4-2 in the first six games. That has pushed their home record to 38-29 this season, and have split their last ten games overall. They are 64-71 this season, 12 games behind the Dodgers for first in the NL West. They are 8.5 games out of a wild card spot in the National League.
On The Mend
According to Jack Magruder of FoxSportsArizona.com, Arizona left fielder Cody Ross is expected to rejoin the team once they get to San Diego. Magruder also reported that right hander Daniel Hudson will also make his return to the majors after suffering two Tommy John surgeries.
Padres right hander Joaquin Benoit is listed as day-to-day with a right shoulder strain, according to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
On August 28th, the Diamondbacks acquired outfielder Nolan Reimold off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays, and released Xavier Paul. The club is expected to make more moves after the September roster expansion.
A Touching Tribute
With college football season now underway, San Diego State found a touching way to honor their former coach and 'Mr. Padre', Tony Gwynn, who passed away earlier this year.
Beautiful tribute to Tony Gwynn on the @Aztec_Football field. Thank you @GoAztecs and good luck this season #MrPadre pic.twitter.com/r7Tq0tR5pd— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 30, 2014
The Padres also decided to put together their own tribute to retiring commissioner Bud Selig in naming a plaza in Petco Park after him, much to the ire of fans:
The @Padres named a new plaza for Bud Selig, and fans aren't happy: http://t.co/Dwkt8mF9Qg pic.twitter.com/8dfjePMcWQ— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 28, 2014
Cahill imploded in his last start, giving up eight runs (six earned) on six hits over 3.1 innings in a loss against the Dodgers. Before that, he had put together a string of five straight quality starts. He has a 3.43 road ERA this season. Ross gave up just a run on four hits over 6.1 innings in a win over Milwaukee in his last start, continuing a club record of 13 consecutive quality starts. He is lights-out at home, going 7-5 with a 1.90 ERA in 14 starts.
Game 2, Tuesday, 7:10 PT: LHP Wade Miley (7-10, 4.30 ERA, 4.10 FIP) vs. RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (3-5, 3.24 ERA, 3.89 FIP)
Miley pitched well in his last start, save for a three-run third inning that would be all Los Angeles needed in its 3-1 win. He has put together four straight quality starts, and has a 5-3 record with a 2.65 ERA in 14 road starts this season. Despaigne is coming off of surrendering just a run over seven innings in his last start, picking up the no-decision against the Brewers. He has pitched well at home this season, going 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in six starts.
Game 3, Wednesday 7:05 PT: RHP Josh Collmenter (9-7, 3.94 ERA, 4.00 FIP) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (2-6, 2.37 ERA, 2.87 FIP)
Collmenter has been Arizona's best pitcher as of late, giving up just one run on six hits over 14.2 innings in his last two starts. He does, however, tend to struggle on the road this season (2-4, 6.04 ERA). Cashner was stellar in his last outing, giving up just a run on six hits over six innings in a no-decision against the Padres. Don't bet against him at Petco Park, where he is 2-2 with a 1.40 ERA this season.
Game 4, Thursday 6:10 PT: LHP Vidal Nuno (2-9, 4.46 ERA, 4.52 FIP) vs. RHP Ian Kennedy (10-11, 3.65 ERA, 3.11 FIP)
Nuno has simply been a victim of bad luck as a Diamondback, and it showed Saturday as he gave up just a run on two hits over eight innings and still got the loss. Arizona is 1-9 in games he's started. Kennedy was exceptional last time out, giving up a run on four hits over seven innings in a no-decision against the Dodgers. He's 4-5 with a 3.81 ERA at Petco Park this season.
I'd say this series is an even split. Cahill has continued his struggles, which Tyson Ross should be able to take advantage of. I think Miley's road side comes out and he out duels Despaigne on Tuesday, and that Cashner could realistically shut out Arizona on Wednesday. On Thursday, I say that Nuno finally turns his luck around, picking up his first Diamondbacks win.
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