D-backs’ slim playoff hopes still alive at Padres

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Despite winning Friday night’s series opener in San Diego, the Arizona Diamondbacks lost time — as well as a key player — in their fading bid for a National League wild-card berth.

Before Friday’s game, the Diamondbacks announced that All-Star infielder-center fielder Ketel Marte will be shut down for the remainder of the season with a stress reaction in his lower back. Marte hit .329 this season with 36 doubles and 32 homers.

As for the wild-card race, the Diamondbacks remain five games behind Milwaukee in the race for the National League’s second wild-card berth. But there are only eight games remaining.

The good news — five of those remaining games are against the Padres, who are stumbling and bumbling toward the end of a once-promising season. Friday night’s loss to Arizona dropped the Padres to 24-40 since the All-Star break. And they have lost seven of their last eight games, although San Diego manager Andy Green continues to talk about how important a strong finish is.

“This is not the ending to this season that anybody in the clubhouse is going to be happy about,” Green said Friday. “I think there is strong desire to go out there and play well at home and close things out here on a positive note. More guys are going to play in the last three series. We will be looking at guys in a number of different positions and situations, trying to get a feel for ‘Do these guys slide into these spots next year?’ “

But it’s not the young Padres and September callups who are letting the Padres down. Veterans Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer have struggled offensively and defensively over the past three weeks.

Since Sept. 2, Machado and Hosmer, the 3-4 hitters in the Padres lineup, are a combined 15-for-117 with two doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs with 41 strikeouts. Hosmer is 9-for-61 (.148) with two doubles, a homer and six RBIs with 27 strikeouts. Machado is 6-for-56 (.107) with two homers, six RBIs and 14 strikeouts.

Saturday night, the Diamondbacks will send right-hander Luke Weaver (4-3, 3.03 ERA) to the mound. Right-hander Cal Quantrill (6-8, 5.33) will start for the Padres.

Weaver is expected to throw about 30 pitches in his first outing since May 26. He has been on the disabled list with a right flexor and UCL strains.

“Starting Luke will give us an opportunity to see him in his pregame preparation,” said Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. “It will allow him to come to the ballpark the way he’s used to.”

Two of Weaver’s 11 previous starts this season were against the Padres. He is 0-2 despite a 2.92 ERA against the Padres this season — allowing four runs on nine hits and no walks with 15 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He has a 2-3 career record against the Padres with a 2.43 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and a .221 opponents’ batting average. He has 33 strikeouts against three walks in 29 2/3 innings against the Padres.

This will be Quantrill’s second career start against the Diamondbacks. On Sept. 2 in Phoenix, Quantrill gave up eight runs on 10 hits in five innings. That was one of three straight starts in which Quantrill allowed eight earned runs. Quantrill is 0-5 over his last five starts with a 12.31 ERA and a 2.12 WHIP.

On Aug. 14, Quantrill was 6-3 with a 3.23 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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