Padres out to stop Diamondbacks, nemesis Greinke

10:10 p.m. ET; FSSD, FS-AZ, MLB.TV

When Zack Greinke walked off the mound with a trainer in the eighth inning last Wednesday in Phoenix, there was an audible gasp from Arizona Diamondbacks fans.

Greinke felt a little tug in his side. And there was really no need to press on in a game Arizona would go on to win 11-1. Through 7 2/3 innings, the Diamondbacks’ ace had held the Pittsburgh Pirates scoreless on four hits and no walks with five strikeouts.

So, he called it a night. Call it a precaution.

“It’s not really bad,” he explained. “It’s not really good. We’ll see.”

An MRI revealed no damage, just an abdominal strain, and manager Torey Lovullo pronounced him good to go after the pitcher threw a bullpen session on Saturday.

“Zack’s bullpen went very good,” Lovullo said. “He’s going to start for us on Tuesday.”

Tuesday night in San Diego, Greinke will be back on the mound at Petco Park against the Padres. Turns out the pain was no big thing. At least for Greinke.

But Greinke always has been a pain in the side for the Padres.

Over the course of his career, Greinke is 13-2 against the Padres with a 2.30 ERA and a .204 opponents’ batting average. He has 156 strikeouts in 156 1/3 innings against San Diego with 31 walks in 24 starts.

And the 35-year-old getting better with age. He’s won each of his past five decisions against the Padres dating back to April 24, 2017.

Tuesday night’s game will match Greinke (6-1, 2.78 ERA) vs. Padres left-hander Matt Strahm (1-3, 3.07 ERA).

A third of Greinke’s victories this season have come against the Padres. He has faced them at home and on the road and has given up five runs on 10 hits and a walk with 16 strikeouts in 13 innings – for a 3.46 ERA.

And over his career, Greinke is 6-2 at Petco Park with a 2.12 ERA, a 0.921 WHIP and a .200 opponents’ batting average in 14 starts.

“Greinke has been tough on us since I’ve been here,” fourth-year Padres manager Andy Green said.

But the Padres might have a capable counter in Strahm, although the 27-year-old’s worst start of the season came in his very first start, on April 1, when he gave up five runs to the Diamondbacks on eight hits and three walks in just 2 2/3 innings. However, 12 days later, Strahm held the Diamondbacks scoreless in Arizona on five hits and no walks with four strikeouts over five innings.

Strahm has not allowed more than two runs in any of his seven starts since the season opener. During that run, he has given up 11 runs on 36 hits and five walks with 37 strikeouts in 41 1/3 innings – for a 2.18 ERA and a 0.968 WHIP.

“He works with a four-pitch mix and all four pitches play,” Green recently said of Strahm. “He can throw any of his four pitches for strikes at any time in a count. When he’s aggressive and mixes his pitches, he’s very tough.”

Strahm has lowered his ERA in six of his past seven starts. He also went four straight starts without issuing a walk and has given up just four homers in 44 innings.

Strahm is 0-1 lifetime against the Diamondbacks in eight career appearances. Both career starts against Arizona came earlier this season. In 12 innings against Arizona, Strahm has allowed three runs on 11 hits and a walk with 13 strikeouts for a 2.25 ERA and a 0.917 WHIP.

–Field Level Media

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