Josh Collmenter takes the hill for the first of a three-game series against the Padres. Welcome home, boys!
The Arizona Diamondbacks left for their 10-game road trip with a two-game lead on the Giants in the NL West. They went 4-6 on the trip including a horrible six-game skid and they come back with a three-game lead over the Giants in the NL West. Thank you, Giants, your injuries and lack of offensive production have made for some very happy D-backs fans in Arizona.
The D-backs enter the final 31-game sprint of the season with the best of the NL East in the rear view mirror. There's no more inter-league play and other than the now-collapsed Pirates, it's just straight up inter-division play from here on in. Of course, the Giants have a pretty easy schedule as well but since they are 1-3 against the Astros recently, that might not matter.
The final sprint stretch run period starts with a six-game home stand against the Padres and Rockies. Both teams are under .500 and both are well out of lead. But with so many games left against each other, it's entirely possible for either team to make a late run. It's not likely, but it's possible.
These two teams have evenly split their eight games so far this season. Here's the pitching match-ups for first of three remaining series against the Padres:
- Friday (6:40 p.m.) : Josh Collmenter (7-8, 3.34) vs. Wade LeBlanc (2-2, 4.62)
- Saturday (5:10 p.m.) : Joe Saunders (8-11, 3.98) vs. Aaron Harang (12-3, 3.96)
- Sunday (1:10 p.m.) : Ian Kennedy (16-4, 3.09) vs. Cory Luebke (5-6, 2.91)
All three games will be on Fox Sports Arizona with live game threads at AZ Snake Pit.
Here's a fun story about these two teams:
Series Preview #43: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres - AZ Snake Pit
I'm going to tell you the story of a baseball team. This baseball team was not expected to be any good going into the season, primarily because they had just experienced two straight losing seasons, including one where they lost almost 100 games. This team did have some talented young players, both in the majors and the minors, and the new general manager put them on a path to contend in two or three years, if everything went according to plan. For the short term, however, expectations were tempered and payroll was kept extremely low.
Then the team started playing and, much to everyone's surprise, they started winning. By the end of May, they were in sole possession of first place in their division. They weren't playing over their head, their Pythagorean W/L was fine, but still no one could figure out how this team was winning so often. Their offense was lackluster outside of one MVP candidate, and their starting pitching was anchored by some young arms who came seemingly out of nowhere and had no experience in a pennant race. But their bullpen was a huge strong point, and they scored just enough runs to stay in the heart of a pennant race against the Giants despite everyone doubting them.
By now, of course, you must have realized that I'm talking about the 2010 Padres. Any resemblance to a certain present-day team in Sedona Red is entirely coincidental. But for what it's worth, it's probably best if I don't remind how that particular story ended...