Eaton (6-1, 3.72)
Ortiz (4-2, 5.11)
The duel for the top of the NL West comes to Phoenix, but local interest will likely be focused on the Suns' Game 2, which will hurt attendance at the park, despite the quality matchup. The Padres have been the hottest team in the NL since we last played them, though lost two of three in Seattle and only managed thirteen hits in that series. Hopefully, that has taken some impetus from them, while we return home after the most successful road trip in franchise history.
But the edge in the pitching match-up goes to the Padres. If Ortiz has been the weakest link in our rotation so far, for one reason or another, he has only lost twice this season - his most recent outing was as the winner in that 7-6 squeaker over the Astros. In contrast, Adam Eaton is one of the reasons why the Padres have lived up to expectations, after a slow start. His fastball can reach 97, and he's also got a 12-6 curve to flummox hitters.
Catcher Ramon Hernandez is perhaps the hottest-hitter on the visitors at the moment, batting .350 during a ten-game streak, but they've lost Mark Loretta with a hand injury. On the Diamondbacks, Counsell leads all hitters in the last week, with a .391 average; Gonzalez is also doing well at .316.
I'm pessimistic about this opener, and indeed, the series in general; not having Vazquez available is a big blow. Taking two of three, which would leave us with a bigger lead than when we went in, would be very satisfactory. And don't forget to check out Gaslamp Ball for the view from the seabirds' perch. Er, if Padres can be said to perch. ;-)