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Arizona Diamondbacks Square Off With San Diego Padres For Control Of NL West Cellar

The Arizona Diamondbacks (14-16) begin a three-series road trip against their California NL West rivals in San Diego. The Padres (12-19) currently sit at the bottom of the NL West but that could change with this three-game duel. The Padres were expected to once again compete for the division but had a rough April thanks mostly to the lack of offense.

The Padres are at the bottom of the league in almost every major offensive statistical category and are dead last in batting average at just .218. The D-backs are hitting a healthier .248 and haven't lost the power (38 HRs, 3rd in MLB) with the departure of Mark Reynolds and Adam LaRoche

Pitching though is what propelled that Padres last season and it's still their strength. They have a team ERA of 2.96 compared to 4.67 for the D-backs. So basically, this is a battle of a good offensive team against a good pitching team in a pitcher's friendly park. 

Game 1 on Friday features Armando Galarraga (3-2, 5.46 ERA) versus Tim Stauffer (0-1, 3.12 ERA). Then comes Hudson (2-4) vs. Moseley (1-3 and Saunders (0-3) vs. Harang (4-2). The D-backs will miss Matt Latos but he's been struggling this year (0-4, 4.55) so that's no blessing. 

The Snakes are coming off a series win against the division-leading Rockies. Now let's see if they can beat the Padres and avoid being forced to the bottom of the pack by a sweep.

Friday's game starts at 7:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Arizona with the game thread live at AZ Snake Pit.

Series Preview #11: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. San Diego Padres - AZ Snake Pit
Of course, all of that just makes what has happened in 2011 that much sadder (for Padres fans, at least).  The 2011 Padres host the Diamondbacks this weekend while sporting a 12-19 record, second-worst in the majors.  Since they couldn't afford to resign Adrian Gonzalez, their star first baseman, they were forced to trade him to the Red Sox over the winter, robbing an already suspect offense of its best player. 

Padres fans are frustrated and dejected, having just watched their team drop a depressing series to the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates.  Sure the season's still early, but the Padres have one of the worst offenses in the league right now, and there's no clear indication that it's going to get better right away.