Padres look for series win vs. Diamondbacks

MLB

All season long, the San Diego Padres have talked about being in a race with the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

Time for a reality check.

With 50 games remaining in the regular season for the Padres, they are starting to lose sight of the Giants and Dodgers. San Francisco holds a four-game lead over Los Angeles and a 7 1/2-game advantage over San Diego.

Even though the Padres play the Giants 10 times and the Dodgers nine times before the end of the regular season, they’d have to win a commanding number of games to overtake either.

Race? Yes, the Padres are in a race. But at the moment it isn’t with the Dodgers and Giants. It is with the surging Cincinnati Reds for the second National League wild-card berth.

The Reds are 9-2 over their past 11 games and are only 2 1/2 games behind the Padres. Which makes every game at this time a “must win” for the Padres, who recorded a 6-2 victory over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. San Diego will vie for a series win in the rubber match on Sunday.

And it’s quite a matchup between two left-handed former All-Stars who aren’t the pitchers they once were — Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 4.57 ERA) against the Padres’ Blake Snell (5-4, 5.24), although both have shown signs recently of regaining their form.

Bumgarner, who turned 32 on Aug. 1, is 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in his four starts since returning from the injured list after the All-Star break. He has surrendered eight runs (five earned) on 19 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 25 innings.

“When he steps back in, you feel his presence,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.

Bumgarner has a 13-12 record against the Padres with a 3.79 ERA in 39 career appearances (38 starts). He has 243 strikeouts in 242 innings vs. San Diego.

He received a no-decision against the Padres on April 1, giving up six runs on seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts in four innings.

Snell, 28, has allowed no runs or one run in four of his paste six starts dating to June 22. The trouble is, Snell gave up 11 runs in the other two starts and missed three starts while on the disabled list with non-COVID-related illnesses.

Over his six starts, Snell has allowed 13 runs on 28 hits and 21 walks with 26 strikeouts in 28 innings. In his most recent start last Tuesday, he held the Oakland Athletics to one run on six hits with six strikeouts on a season-high 105 pitches in just five innings.

“Blake’s been at his best when he’s on the attack with his fastball,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said of Snell, who is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two career starts against Arizona.

–Field Level Media

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