Our Padres kicked off the series and the road trip on a very strong note last night with a 5-0 win against the Diamondbacks. Our boys have now won five games in a row, including a sweep of the Pirates at home. Also, they have won all four games at Chase Field this season. Both of those streaks will be on the line tonight and Clayton Richard intends to keep them intact.
TL;DR after the jump...
As one of only two of our starting pitchers who has managed to stay off the disabled list this season, Richard has become a symbol of stability in the rotation, and lately a symbol of reliability as well. He has pitched no less than five innings all season, and has gone at least six innings in 21 of his 26 starts. Fifteen of those outings have been quality starts. He's been particularly solid as of late, winning four of his last six decisions to improve his season record to 10-12.
Over his last five starts, he has given up a total of just eight runs, posting a 2.02 ERA in that span. He gave up five runs in a loss to the Braves in Atlanta, but in the start prior to that he pitched a 5-hit complete game shutout against the Cubs. In his most recent outing, he pitched eight strong innings, only allowing one run (unearned) on five hits to prevent a sweep by the Giants.
Richard has a successful history (4-0 in six career starts) against the Diamondbacks. He put up a solid outing against them at Petco Park earlier this year, giving up one earned run on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings, but not factoring into the decision. He was even more impressive at Chase Field a month later, surrendering two earned runs on eight hits and a walk while coming up just one out shy of a complete game.
Ian Kennedy, who takes the mound for Arizona tonight, has also made two starts against us this season. He picked up his second win of the season when he pitched at Petco Park on April 12th, limiting our boys to one earned run on five hits in six innings. On July 4th at Chase Field, he gave up four earned runs on nine hits in seven innings, but got a no-decision as our Padres went on to win the game. He has yet to record a loss against San Diego, possessing a 6-0 career record against us.
Kennedy is coming off a win in Houston, where he went six innings and kept the Astros to just one run on five hits. Overall, he is 11-10 in 25 starts this season and hopes to stay above .500 while putting an end to Padres dominance in Arizona. His offense has helped him out tremendously at home lately, giving him an 8.53 run support average and helping him to a 3-0 record over his last five home games. Kennedy will be looking for that same kind of run support tonight, as opposed to last night's lackluster effort that yielded no runs against Padres pitching.
Not that Padres pitching has been all that great at keeping the Dbacks off the board in Arizona. They scored 13 combined runs off our pitching staff the last time we traveled out there. But thankfully for us, our offense has thrived in the desert. Last night's five runs was a season low for our Friars in Arizona. Chris Denorfia has been especially successful, going 17-for-40 in 12 games there. Last night he hit a solo home run and drove in another to help lead the team to victory.