Arizona is coming off of a rough four-game set in the nation's capital, getting swept and losing three of the four games in walk-off fashion. The Diamondbacks managed to stay in it in Monday's opener, taking it to the 11th until Will Harris surrendered a walk-off to Adam LaRoche to give Washington their third straight walk-off, 5-4. The Nationals got to starter Chase Anderson in the third inning on Tuesday, putting up six runs en route to an 8-1 win. Arizona managed to overcome an early deficit Wednesday with a two-run eighth inning, but still fell 3-2 after Evan Marshall gave up the walk-off base hit. In Thursday's finale, both teams went scoreless until the bottom of the ninth, as the Nationals converted a run off of an error by third baseman Jordan Pacheco to win 1-0. Arizona has lost six in a row, and have won just two of their last ten games. They are currently 53-75, 18 games behind Los Angeles for first place in the NL West. They are seven games behind San Diego for third place.
Arizona's offense has been putrid this season, posting the 26th-ranked wRC+ in baseball (87) with the 25th-ranked offensive WAR (10.0) in baseball and are batting .251/.305/.384 with a .304 wOBA. They struggle even when putting the ball in play, putting together the 21st-ranked BABIP in the majors this season (.295). Arizona doesn't pitch well either, as they have the 25th-ranked team ERA in baseball (4.30) with the 21st-ranked FIP (3.92) and the 26th-ranked pitching WAR (7.7). They seriously struggle on balls in play as well, with the second-highest BABIP in the majors (.312).
San Diego's offense is even worse, posting a league-worst wRC+ (83) and the 27th-ranked offensive WAR (9.6), batting .228/.291/.349 and a .285 wOBA. They also rank dead last in BABIP with a mark of .277. Their pitching staff is actually quite good, however, posting the third-ranked team ERA in baseball (3.14) and FIP (3.47), but are 20th in pitching WAR (9.5). They don't give up the home run ball, giving up just 0.71 HR/9 (fifth).
The Padres come to the desert after having taken one of three games from the Dodgers in Los Angeles, continuing an 11-game road trip. They've split their last ten games, and have gone 25-40 on the road this season. They are 59-66 overall this season, and are 11.5 games behind the Dodgers for first place in the NL West.
On The Mend
Padres right hander Joaquin Benoit is day-to-day with a shoulder injury, and could pitch as early as Friday or Saturday according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
On Thursday, the Padres released second baseman Brooks Conrad, who batted .100/.176/.233 through 13 games.
The Challenge is Real
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has become a viral hit over the past few weeks, and has made its way into Major League Baseball:
Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) August 21, 2014
Game 1, Friday 6:40 PT: RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (3-4, 3.28 ERA, 4.16 FIP) vs. RHP Josh Collmenter (8-7, 4.31 ERA, 4.31 FIP)
Despaigne went through a rough first inning but settled down in his last start, going four innings and giving up five runs in a loss to the Cardinals. He's 1-3 with a 4.28 ERA on the road this season. Collmenter also got knocked around in his last start, giving up five runs over four innings in a loss against Miami. He is 6-3 with a 3.20 ERA at home this season.
Game 2, Saturday 5:10 PT: RHP Andrew Cashner (2-6, 2.36 ERA, 2.83 FIP) vs. LHP Vidal Nuno (2-8, 4.79 ERA, 4.70 FIP)
Cashner has powered his way through injuries, and gave up a run over seven innings in his last start against the Mariners. Despite his great home numbers, he has struggled on the road this season (0-4, 3.77 ERA). Nuno gave up just two runs over seven innings in his last start against the Nationals, but couldn't get the decision. He has yet to pick up a win in a Diamondbacks uniform.
Game 3, Sunday 1:10 PT: RHP Ian Kennedy (9-11, 3.72 ERA, 3.10 FIP) vs. RHP Chase Anderson (7-5, 3.71 ERA, 4.32 FIP)
Kennedy gave up three runs over five innings in his last start against the Diamondbacks, and has a 5-6 with a 3.42 ERA on the road this season. Anderson's hot run came to an end in his last start, as he gave up six runs over two innings in a loss to the Nationals. He is 5-2 with a 3.27 ERA at home in his career.
I have Arizona taking just one of three games from this set, with the best chances coming in the first and final games of the set. Collmenter pitches much better at home despite his dropping velocity, and Anderson should bounce back strong against Kennedy. I think Cashner is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball, and he'll prove it yet again.