08/06/10 10:41 PM ET
Homer-prone Lopez vs. homer-challenged Padres
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
Lopez, who has surrendered a Majors-most 27 homers, will give it a go against the Padres, who are ranked 13th in home runs in the the National League. Of the three teams behind them, two have losing records (Astros and Pirates). Meanwhile, the Padres sit atop the NL West, ahead of the team with the third-most homers (Dodgers).
It has been a bumpy road for Lopez, whose club has lost in his past four outings, while he has taken the losing decision in three of them. He has allowed at least three earned runs in his past five starts.
D-backs interim manager Kirk Gibson hopes that the club's 2-1 win against San Diego in the series opener on Friday, along with other events along the way, will help his young group grow and learn.
"Some of the things that I bring up or discuss with the team, my wish is that the team discusses it at some point amongst themselves, so when [a player] make plays ... that gives [him] the right -- when he sees somebody not doing right -- to tell him to do it right," Gibson said. "If you look at how we build this team and where our personality comes [from], that's part of it."
But he'll catch the Padres, not typically known for their offensive prowess so much as their fine-tuned pitching staff, having lost three of their past four. It'll be up to left-hander Clayton Richard to help get the Padres hot again.
Richard allowed 14 baserunners in 5 1/3 innings in his previous start against the Dodgers, surrendering hits to five of the first seven batters.
"Despite the struggle, we came away with a win," Richard said. "That's the big thing. It was a matter of a couple of walks. We put up a five spot, and the last thing you want to do is walk guys."
Padres: Richard's ERA is up but so are the wins
Richard is 5-1 with a 4.84 ERA over his past eight starts, in which the Padres are 6-2. ... The lefty is 1-0 with a 7.11 ERA and six strikeouts against Arizona in his career. ... San Diego is 4-13 in its past 17 games in Arizona.
D-backs: Reynolds remains out after pitch to head
Third baseman Mark Reynolds missed his second consecutive game after taking a pitch to the head on Tuesday. ... Lopez is seeking his first career win against the Padres. ... Stephen Drew's hitting streak ended at 12 games on Friday.
Friday's win broke the D-backs' six-game losing streak against the Padres. ... D-backs reliever Aaron Heilman struck out one batter in his perfect ninth-inning save on Friday and stands one strikeout from 500 in his career. He has recorded 39 in 51 innings this year.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.