After yesterday's marathon game, the Padres took a late, but happy, flight to Arizona where they will begin a three-game set against the Diamondbacks tonight. Tyson Ross will get the call in the series opener and try to get his fourth straight road win. He's been brilliant, especially on the road, since returning to the Padres rotation after the All Star Break. He has won all three away games in that span, posting a 0.86 ERA without allowing a homer. That run already includes a win at Chase Field. In arguably his best outing of the season, Ross pitched eight strong innings of three-hit ball, issuing just one walk and striking out seven. He wasn't so sharp in his last outing however. He took on the Pirates at home last week, giving up five runs (four earned) in 6 1/3 innings, in his worst start since rejoining the rotation.
But despite an overall successful run since the All Star Break, Ross hasn't gotten much run support from his offense. In the last five of those six outings, he's only been given six total runs of support. San Diego hitters have been kept to a .155 average with runners in scoring position since the first week of August. Their .255 overall batting average this month ranks 15th in the majors, but they've scored the fewest runs (3.19 average) in August.
Brandon McCarthy will try to take advantage of the Padres' scoring struggles as he takes the mound for the Dbacks tonight. McCarthy spent two months on the disabled list earlier this season and hasn't pitched too well in his four starts since coming back. He's been on the losing end of each of those outings and has posted a 6.98 ERA in that stretch. His last win, in fact, came against San Diego back in May, before he hit the DL. He kept them to just one run on five hits in seven innings of work. That was one of Arizona's four wins in their last twelve games against San Diego.
Both the Padres and the Dbacks will need their starting pitchers to go deep into tonight's game. Over the last two games, San Diego's relief corps has pitched 19 innings. First in relief of Edinson Volquez Saturday night after he was tagged for six runs in just 2/3 of an inning. Then despite an excellent outing from Andrew Cashner yesterday, the already-taxed bullpen had to pitch through a 15-inning game before the Padres finally ended it with a walkoff. The Diamondbacks are returning to Chase Field after ten games on the road which included an 18-inning affair on Saturday, in which the bullpen pitched 12 frames.
See if Ross and McCarthy can give their relievers some well-needed rest tonight as the teams take the field at 6:40.