The Padres are ready to pounce in the National League West, sitting in fourth place but just 4 1/2 games back of the D-backs, Rockies and Giants.
San Diego can gain ground directly on one of those clubs when it opens a three-game series in Phoenix on Friday night. The D-backs know full well just how pesky the Padres can be. Arizona has won three of its last four games against the the Padres but has dropped eight of its last 10 against San Diego at Chase Field.
Arizona's Brandon McCarthy looks to end his club's disappointing stretch against San Diego in the opener and continue his run of success. The right-hander has been on a roll, allowing no runs in his last two outings, a span of 17 innings, and he's 1-0 with a 1.16 ERA in his last three starts.
The D-backs' starting pitchers have been dominant, going 8-4 with a 2.49 ERA and 13 quality starts in the last 16 games.
Opposing McCarthy is Padres right-hander Eric Stults, who carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Nationals his last time out. He allowed one run over eight innings, the deepest he's worked into a game since 2009.
"To see him work through a good lineup, it was pretty fun to watch," Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko afterward. "When he's on like he was on tonight, it's fun to play behind him."
Padres: Amarista on a roll
Since April 7, Alexi Amarista is hitting .329 with 13 runs, seven doubles, three homers, and 13 RBIs in 39 games, including 16 starts. He also has recorded eight multihit games in that stretch.
• Outfielder Carlos Quentin missed his second straight game on Wednesday, but manager Bud Black expects him to return on Friday. Quentin had a cortisone injection in his left knee, which has bothered him since he took an awkward slide on Monday.
D-backs: Goldschmidt loving May
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is hitting .357 with six doubles, seven homers and 18 RBIs in 20 games this month.
• Eric Chavez has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games, during which he's batting .462.
• The D-backs are 11-8 in one-run games and 6-7 in two-run contests.
• Arizona is the only team in baseball that hasn't been shut out this season.
• The D-backs are in the midst of a six-game homerless drought.