Thanks in large part to a skidding offense, the Padres have matched their longest losing streak of the season. They will likely eclipse that high tonight if Aaron Harang can't find a way to end his struggles versus the Rockies.
San Diego tries to avoid an eighth straight setback this evening in the opener of a three-game series with Colorado, which is in the midst of a disappointing road trip itself.
The Padres have been outscored 32-11 over their current slide, with five of those runs coming in one game. They also lost seven straight from July 6-15 and a defeat tonight would give the club its longest losing streak since dropping 10 in a row from Aug. 26-Sept. 5 of last year.
Starter Wade LeBlanc accounted for half of his team's offense in Wednesday's finale with the Dodgers, connecting on an RBI single in a 4-2 loss. He gave up four runs over six innings on the mound to suffer the defeat.
"Wade hung in there but missed a couple of spots and they took advantage of it," said Padres manager Bud Black following the end of an eight-game road trip. "We need to catch some fire with the bats. We have to play a complete game and we're not doing it."
The pressure may be on the offense tonight considering that Harang has allowed 13 runs over two starts and 10 innings against Colorado this year. He escaped with a no-decision in the first meeting, but was touched for six runs over 5 2/3 innings of a loss on July 30, falling to 4-3 with a 5.26 earned run average in nine career starts versus Colorado.
The right-hander has struggled with the heart of Colorado's lineup, giving up homers to Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton and Carlos Gonzalez this season. That trio is a combined 7-for-14 off him with eight RBI in that span.
Harang did run off a three-decision win streak following that defeat to the Rockies, but that came to end with a loss in Arizona on Saturday. The 33-year- old did pitch well, lasting six innings and getting charged with three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits and on walk while striking out a season high-tying eight in a 3-1 setback.
"Aaron pitched great," said Black. "He threw the ball well. We just got out- pitched overall."
Harang fell to 12-4 with a 3.92 ERA on the season.
While Harang has struggled against Colorado in 2011, Rockies starter Kevin Millwood brings an excellent 7-1 record and 3.05 ERA over 15 lifetime meetings against the Padres into this series.
The right-hander will make his fifth start of the season and with Colorado this evening and is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA. Millwood earned that first victory on Aug. 21, beating the Dodgers with seven innings of three-run ball. He then did not factor into the decision of a rematch at Los Angeles six days later, getting charged with two runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings.
The 36-year-old did not allow a homer in that game after giving up six through his first three starts.
Colorado had won five straight before kicking off a nine-game road trip on Aug. 26 in LA. The Rockies have produced just one win over the swing's first six games and was swept in three games by the Diamondbacks to begin the week.
The Rox dropped a 4-2 decision in Wednesday's finale. Dexter Fowler homered for the second time in as many games, while Esmil Rogers took the loss after putting his team in an early hole following a three-run first inning.
"We had some opportunities and didn't capitalize on them," Fowler said.
The Rockies have won four of their last five over the Padres and have captured 11 of their past 15 trips to Petco Park.