Much like their Sunday starter Clayton Richard, the Padres are just trying to return to form.
Things went from bad to worse for San Diego on Saturday night when they fell, 9-5, to the Rockies to extend their losing streak to four and dropped their fourth straight series.
The Padres might see the end of the tunnel Sunday after tinkering with Richard's mechanics as he approached his third season start. Richard has posted an 8.68 ERA through two starts, but the Padres think lowering the lefty's arm could be the key to better results.
"A lot of his issues have been mechanical, and we think we have Clayton dialed in," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We've worked on a lower arm slot in the spring, and I think he's starting to adjust to it. Based on his bullpen [session] and the stride he made in his last outing, I believe Clayton will have a good start on Sunday."
Richard is 2-4 with a 5.68 ERA through 63 1/3 innings over career against the Rockies. The lefty allowed nine of the first 15 Dodgers hitters to reach base in his last start, but gave up just two runs through five innings in the Padres win.
The Rockies, who are 5-0 against the Padres this season, answer with Jorge De La Rosa, who had much better command in his second start of the season last Monday. De La Rosa gave up three runs off a shot by the Giants' Hunter Pence, but didn't yield another run in his six innings.
"Jorge is heading the right way. I think he's on the right path. Even his first outing [at Milwaukee], I went out and got him in the fifth, but he gave us a chance to win that night," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's done that every time out. That's all we're looking for from our starters. I think Jorge is real close to being at his best."
Rockies: Pairing up
• Weiss likes seeing De La Rosa and Yorvit Torrealba on the field together and will pair the two up for the third time this season on Sunday.
"It seems to work. We've got the day game. The schedule seems to be set up for it, too, day game after a night game," Weiss said. "It's probably the way we'll roll [Sunday]. I'm sure there's a comfort level for both of those guys."
• Todd Helton continued to heat up in Saturday's win, following his slow start to the season. The 39-year-old went 2-for-21 to start the season, but has since gone 5-for-8 against the Padres heading into Sunday's finale.
• Weiss is keeping a positive outlook with regard to his struggling setup man Wilton Lopez. The right-hander has a 12.46 ERA that includes two runs on Friday that could have cost Colorado the game. Weiss said he'll be very deliberate with how he uses the reliever moving forward.
"I've got to be honest with you, every time I bring him in, I think he's going to be lights-out," Weiss said. "We'll play that by ear. We'll put him in the best possible position to be successful. He's still going to get meaningful innings. I don't know when exactly that's going to be. Is it going to be the seventh or the eighth? They're still going to be meaningful outings."
Padres: Headley narrows timetable
After being out since March 17, Chase Headley has gotten glowing reviews following his first rehab game with Class A Lake Elsinore. Headley went 1-for-3 in his first outing before taking a break Saturday to receive his 2012 Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards at Petco Park.
The third baseman is expected to rejoin his club next week, but Black won't say when he plans to re-insert Headley into the lineup.
"It's a matter of Chase getting some at-bats and getting his timing and rhythm back," Black said. "Some guys need several games, others need very few. I think Chase will need a handful of games to get his legs under him. Before too long, he'll be ready to go."
Sunday will mark De La Rosa's fourth career start at Petco Park and his first appearance there since the '10 season. De La Rosa is 1-1 with a 3.05 ERA for his career at Petco.
• The Padres' Everth Cabrera was a double shy of a cycle in the club's loss Saturday. Cabrera has led the Friars bats this series going 5-for-9 from the plate with two RBI and two runs. No Padre has hit for the cycle since the club began playing in 1969.
Gary Cotton is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.