Perhaps Arizona manager Torey Lovullo should put in a call to Triple-A Reno and find some obscure pitcher to make his debut against the San Diego Padres on Friday night, rather than risk further embarrassment for scheduled starter Madison Bumgarner.
On Thursday night, for the third time in 13 months, a Diamondbacks pitcher making his major-league debut shut out the Padres.
The run started on Aug. 14, 2021, when rookie Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hitter against the Padres in his first major-league start, at Chase Field. On Sept. 5 of this season, Ryne Nelson shut out the Padres on four hits and no walks, with seven strikeouts, over seven innings in his big-league debut.
On Thursday night, Diamondbacks right-hander Drey Jameson blanked the Padres on two hits and a walk, with five strikeouts, over seven innings in his debut.
“I don’t know how to explain it other than three exceptional performances by those guys,” Lovullo said after the Diamondbacks’ 4-0 win over the Padres on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Chase Field in Arizona.
Now, however, the Diamondbacks look to reverse the fortunes of a trend going in the opposite direction.
No doubt, the veteran Bumgarner is itching to get at the Padres. As a Giant, he used to delight in beating the Padres.
However, since he joined the Diamondbacks in 2020, Bumgarner is winless against the Padres: 0-6 with a 6.17 ERA. This season, Bumgarner is 0-3 with a 5.29 ERA.
On Friday night, in a pairing of left-handers, Bumgarner (6-14, 4.88 ERA) will take on the Padres’ Blake Snell (6-9, 4.02) at Chase Field.
But the pitching matchup is secondary among the concerns facing Padres manager Bob Melvin as his club’s hold on the third National League wild-card berth has slipped to 1 1/2 games over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Padres (78-66) have scored just three runs over the last 33 innings in the latest dive of a roller-coaster offensive season. Over the last three games, they were 1-for-21 with runners in scoring position. On Thursday they were blanked for seven innings by a pitcher who hadn’t had a scoreless outing since April while in Double-A and was sporting an ERA just under seven at Triple-A.
“We’re more concerned about us than the other team,” a clearly frustrated Melvin said after Thursday night’s loss. “It didn’t feel like we put up a fight tonight. We can’t play like that — not at this (stage) of the season. The way we’re going about it is not good.”
The Padres are 50-52 over their last 102 games. And the offense has continued to struggle since the trading deadline addition of proven offensive weapons Juan Soto and Josh Bell.
Soto has hit .209 with three homers and seven RBIs in 115 at-bats as a Padre, although 32 walks in 34 games has given him a .385 on-base percentage. Bell has hit .207 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 135 at-bats.
Meanwhile, Snell is 0-1 against the Diamondbacks despite striking out 10 and allowing one run on four hits and a walk over six innings in his lone outing against Arizona — on Sept. 5 against Nelson.
–Field Level Media