If the San Diego Padres had played this well at home in the first three months, finishing .500 this season wouldn't be their loftiest goal.
The Padres seek a 16th win in 19 tries at Petco Park on Tuesday night when they continue a four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, losers of seven straight on the road.A .500 season seemed unlikely after the Padres dropped 13 games under with a loss at Atlanta on July 28, but a 19-12 mark since has them within six games of the break-even mark at 65-71.San Diego's play at home lately is the biggest reason behind its push for .500.The Padres are a major league-best 20-6 at home since June 29 and have won 15 of 18 at Petco, a stretch during which they've posted a 2.26 ERA. The offense has also been much improved, with the team hitting .265 over that 18-game span after a .217 average in the first 50 home games contributed to a 24-26 mark.Cory Spangenberg had a two-run single in his major league debut Monday to lift the Padres to a series-opening 3-1 victory over Arizona.Spangenberg is the third player in team history to have multiple RBIs in his big league debut.His parents, two brothers and sister were at the game."It's just nice to share this moment with them because they've put in as much time and effort with this as I did," Spangenberg said.Miguel Montero knocked in the run for the Diamondbacks (57-80), who are mired in their longest road skid since dropping 14 in a row in 2010.Arizona has scored 12 runs and batted .196 during the losing streak and has one extra-base hit in its last three games away from Chase Field.Rookie Ender Inciarte remains a bright spot for the struggling Diamondbacks, batting .364 in his last eight games with five multihit efforts.Generating offense could be a problem against Odrisamer Despaigne, who is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in six outings at Petco compared to 1-4 with a 4.45 ERA in six on the road.The rookie right-hander faces the Diamondbacks for the second time in three starts after allowing four runs over five innings in a 5-1 loss in Phoenix on Aug. 22. He was much better Wednesday against Milwaukee, yielding one earned run with a career-high nine strikeouts in seven innings of a 3-2 win in 10.Despaigne (3-5, 3.24) limited Arizona to one run over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-1 home victory in his second career start June 29.Wade Miley (7-10, 4.30) looks to continue his run of solid outings while also hoping for improved run support. The left-hander has posted a 2.45 ERA during four consecutive quality starts, but he's lost his only two decisions in that span while receiving five total runs of support.He had the misfortune of being matched up with the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday and gave up three runs over six innings in a 3-1 loss.Miley has pitched seven innings and surrendered three runs in both of his starts this season against the Padres, failing to record a decision in either 4-3 loss. However, he is 1-6 with a 4.96 ERA in 11 career meetings with San Diego.
Wade Miley is throwing an MLB-high 60 percent of his pitches this season down in the strike zone or below. As a team, the Padres are hitting .183 in at-bats ending with such pitches, 25 points lower than any other team.