Aside from their struggles against the Colorado Rockies, the San Diego Padres have been proficient this season at beating teams with losing records.
The Padres swept all six games in their season series against Cincinnati. They went 5-2 against the Cubs, 4-2 against the Pirates and won three of their first four meetings against the Marlins.
And they are 6-1 this season against the Arizona Diamondbacks heading into a two-game series in Phoenix starting Tuesday.
Domination of those five teams represent more than half the Padres' wins thus far. And after a brief stop in Phoenix, the Padres are in Los Angeles for four games before hosting San Francisco, the third team with a winning record in the National League West, for four games the following weekend.
But don't expect to see the Padres look past the Diamondbacks. And might this be the time to see Manny Machado return in a limited capacity before the Dodgers series?
"One thing we've done this season is concentrate on one game at a time," Padres manager Bob Melvin said recently. "The players haven't lost sight of that during good runs and bad games. I don't expect that to change."
As for Machado, had he gone on the disabled list when he gruesomely sprained his ankle on June 19 in Colorado, he would be eligible to return Thursday for the Dodgers. But the Padres kept him off the disabled list in hopes, as Melvin said, "he could return after eight or nine days at least for a couple at-bats."
That would signal some action in Arizona. Machado made major steps at the end of last week, then had a lighter workout Sunday and had Monday off.
In a rematch, the Padres will start left-hander Sean Manaea (3-3, 3.87 ERA) against Diamondbacks right-hander Zac Gallen (4-2, 2.92).
Manaea and Gallen pitched to a virtual dead heat when they faced off June 21 in San Diego in a game the Padres won 3-2 in 11 innings on a walk-off single by Jorge Alfaro.
Gallen gave up two runs on five hits and three walks with a season-high 11 strikeouts. Manaea also gave up two runs in six innings on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts. The Padres' Eric Hosmer homered off Gallen. Jordan Luplow homered off Manaea.
"It was another consistent performance by Zac," said Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo in San Diego. "He's had two off-starts this season. He's consistently kept us in games."
The Diamondbacks are 8-5 in games started by Gallen, who has seven quality starts and has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of his 13 outings. Arizona has lost two games when Gallen allowed only one run, and they have lost two of the last three games in which he's allowed two runs, including the June 21 outing against the Padres.
Gallen has faced the Padres only once this season. Manaea will be facing the Diamondbacks for a third time. Back on April 8, Manaea no-hit the Diamondbacks over seven innings, issuing one walk and striking out seven.
Gallen is 1-2 lifetime against the Padres with a 3.31 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and a .227 opponents' batting average in six starts. Manaea is 3-1 lifetime against the Diamondbacks in five starts with a 2.89 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and a .185 opponents' batting average.
--Field Level Media