The San Diego Padres are thriving on the mound, and their starters are a big reason for that.
Brandon Morrow looks to deliver the latest strong performance as the Padres go for a fifth win in six games Wednesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
San Diego (5-4) has a 2.20 ERA over the last five games, led by a rotation that's posted a 1.36 mark. The starters had a 4.19 ERA in the first four contests.
Odrisamer Despaigne yielded one run and two hits in seven innings of Tuesday's 5-1 win over Arizona (4-4) after the Padres dropped the series opener 8-4 a day earlier.
Morrow will try to cap this seven-game homestand by building on a dazzling effort in his Padres debut after winning the fifth starter job in spring training. The right-hander justified that decision Friday, collecting seven strikeouts in seven innings before Wil Myers' RBI double in the eighth gave San Diego a 1-0 win over San Francisco.
"He's got a lot of weapons," manager Bud Black said of Morrow, signed as a free agent in December. "He's got fastball velocity, when the fastball is down it has sink, a good overhand curve, slider and a wicked change. (Friday) was a snapshot of what he can do."
Morrow faces the Diamondbacks for the first time since surrendering six runs in four innings of an 8-6 road loss with Toronto on May 21, 2010.
First-year Padre Matt Kemp has been superb, hitting .368 with six RBIs. He's gone 9 for 17 with two doubles, two triples and three RBIs in the past four games after collecting a single, triple and an RBI on Tuesday.
Kemp owns a .395 average with 11 RBIs in a 10-game hitting streak against the Diamondbacks, and he's 4 for 7 with a home run against scheduled starter Chase Anderson.
The right-hander will be looking to go deeper into the game than he did in his season debut. He struggled with command Friday, throwing 100 pitches in five innings while allowing three runs with three walks and six strikeouts in a 4-3, 10-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"It's good to have a bullpen like that behind you, especially when you only throw five innings," Anderson told MLB's official website. "That's not the goal as a starting pitcher. You want to throw six, seven, eight innings and hopefully finish what we started."
Anderson has pitched at least six innings in half of his 22 career starts, completing seven twice. He hasn't gotten past the fifth in three starts against the Padres, going 2-1 with a 4.20 ERA.