As the Padres trudge through what is becoming a potentially record-breaking run of offensive futility, we continue our quest to find a team they can beat.
First it was the Chicago Cubs, who sported the worst record in the National League coming into Petco Park three weeks ago. The Padres eked out a series split after losing two of the first three.
Then it was a trip to Arizona to play the last-place Diamondbacks. The Friars limped through a series loss that included a 12-6 rout in the rubber game that saw the D’backs take a 10-run lead in the first two innings.
Next comes the current stretch in which the schedule brought on 16 straight games against teams with a record at or below .500 (at the time). So far, they’ve lost four of the first six of those games, scoring just 11 runs in the process.
But now, the Padres may have finally found a worthy adversary: A trip to Phildadelphia to play the hapless Phillies, co-owners of the worst record in the NL and losers of eight of their last nine. There’s gotta be some wins in there, right? Let’s take a look.
What’s at stake: As playoff aspirations slowly fade away for both teams, let’s turn our attention to which team can stake the claim of having the most inept offense in the baseball.
As you may know, the Padres rank dead last in the majors in batting average (.218), on-base percentage (.277) and slugging (.346). But the Phils are gaining on them, ranking 23rd/24th/23rd in baseball with their team slash line of .241/.308/.372. First team to two runs could win all three of these games.
The Padres have lost seven straight series to the Phillies and dropped four of six from them last year.
Tuesday, 4:05 p.m.: Ian Kennedy (R, 5-6, 3.39) vs. A.J. Burnett (R, 3-5, 4.41)
Kennedy has won three straight starts, allowing just four earned runs. Meanwhile, Burnett has allowed 17 runs on 26 hits over his last three.
Wednesday, 4:05 p.m.: Tyson Ross (R, 6-5, 3.22) vs. Cole Hamels (L, 2-3, 3.49)
After a dominant May where he threw four straight starts without giving up more than one earned run, Ross has been unable to get through the sixth inning in two of his last three. A San Diego native, Hamels has been a workhorse, going at least six innings in all but one of his outings. He’s also allowed more than three earned runs just once since May 6.
Thursday, 10:05 a.m.: Andrew Cashner (R, 2-5, 2.13) vs. Kyle Kendrick (R, 1-6, 3.40)
Can somebody please get Cashner a win? The poor guy has given up two runs or less in five straight outings, but has an 0-3 record during that time. After a strong start, Kendrick has tailed off, allowing at least four runs in three of his last four.
Who to watch:
Padres: Let’s play a little game called “find a Padre hitting above .200 over the last week.” There’s part-time catcher Rene Rivera, who has three hits in 11 at-bats (.273). There’s Yonder Alonso (.267) and Seth Smith (.222), who each have four. And that’s about it. Alonso has the team’s lone home run in the past … who knows how long?Let’s at least give some love to Cameron Maybin, who has three RBIs in his last seven games after going his first 70 at-bats without one.
Phillies: This lineup is mostly made up of Chase Utley and a bunch of guys who could play for the Padres. The second baseman is hitting .314 with 31 runs scored and 24 doubles. First baseman Ryan Howard leads the team with 11 homers and 41 RBIs, but is hitting just .233 and has a whopping 80 strikeouts.
Coming up: The road leads to New York, where the Padres play the Mets this weekend. That’s followed by a cross-country trip to Seattle for a pair of games before the Mariners come to Petco for another pair right after that.