SAN DIEGO -- Four weeks ago, it appeared this would be the weekend that the Arizona Diamondbacks would be locking up a playoff berth -- and possibly the National League West title -- at Petco Park in San Diego.
Well, a strange thing happened en route to the postseason.
Since being 74-60 and in first place in the National League West at the end of August, the Diamondbacks have gone 7-18 over the last 25 games. Division title -- gone. Playoffs -- gone.
The only thing the Diamondbacks are playing out now as they come to San Diego is the string. Meanwhile, the Padres have gone 11-12 since Arizona last led the West, including a two-game split with Arizona.
The clubs' final three-game series of the season begins Friday night with a match of left-handed starters -- Arizona's Patrick Corbin (11-7, 3.23 ERA) facing Padres rookie Eric Lauer (6-7, 4.60).
Corbin has been a model of consistency over his first 32 starts this season for the Diamondbacks. His ERA in 20 starts before the All-Star break was 3.24. His ERA in 12 second-half starts is 3.22. His highest ERA for a single month was 3.82 in May.
Corbin has 242 strikeouts in 195 innings with a 1.06 WHIP. Opposing hitters are batting .219 against Corbin this season with a .271 on-base percentage and a .339 slugging percentage.
The 29-year-old has faced the Padres twice this season and 18 times in his career (13 starts).
He is 6-7 during his career against the Padres with a 4.48 ERA, a .272 opponents' batting average and a 1.38 WHIP. He has 95 strikeouts with 29 walks in 88 1/3 innings. Corbin is 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA, 1.314 WHIP and a .247 opponents' batting average in nine appearances (six starts) at Petco Park, where he has struck out 40 in 40 1/3 innings.
This season, Corbin is 1-0 against the Padres with a 4.50 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and a .178 opponents' batting average in two starts. He has allowed six runs on eight hits and three walks with 19 strikeouts in 12 innings. He has made one start at Petco Park this season and allowed four runs on six hits in six innings.
Lauer, the 25th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 draft out of Kent State, has made 22 starts during his rookie campaign. But only one of them came against Arizona. On July 5 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Lauer held the Diamondbacks to one run on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in five innings to pick up his fourth major league win.
In four starts since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 30 -- he missed a month with a forearm strain -- Lauer is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA. He has allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits and seven walks with 19 walks in 19 innings.
The Padres have won three of those four starts and are 8-14 in his 22 starts.
On the season, Lauer has allowed 60 runs (54 earned) on 120 hits and 45 walks with 94 strikeouts in 105 2/3 innings for a 1.56 WHIP and a .285 opponents' batting average. He is 2-4 at Petco Park with a 5.05 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and a .273 opponents' batting average in 10 starts.