Blanks impressing amid Friars' struggles

Blanks impressing amid SD's struggles

SAN DIEGO -- Sort the Major League statistics page by descending batting average, and you'll have to scroll down all the way to the end to find the Padres.

Holding the lowest batting average in the Majors (.231) isn't anything new for a team scraping to find offensive production.

But the hitting woes have been especially painful as of late. Since the All-Star break, the Padres have not scored more than three runs in a game. In fact, they've scored two or fewer runs in their past four games, all losses.

San Diego's .309 on-base percentage ranks next to last in the Major Leagues, barely surpassing San Francisco's .308.

Rookie outfielder Kyle Blanks provided one of the few highlights during the Padres' 1-6 homestand.

Blanks knocked his first Major League home run 417 feet to left field in the ninth inning Tuesday against the Marlins, bringing the Padres within one run.

Blanks singled to left in the second inning Wednesday, providing the Padres' only hit in the first six innings.

Black said he thinks Blanks' first home run will help the rookie's confidence as a hyped power hitter.

"I'm sure it's a weight off his shoulders," Black said. "It's the type of thing you try not to think about, but you do."

Pitching matchup
SD: RHP Kevin Correia (6-7, 4.34 ERA)
Correia is coming off his team-leading 11th quality start. He allowed one run on three hits over six innings in the Padres' 3-1 win over the Rockies. He walked four and struck out two. Correia has been the stopper for the Padres much of the season. His six victories have come after San Diego losses. He halted a six-game losing streak in May and beat the Giants before the All-Star Game, snapping the Friars' seven-game losing streak in July. He has allowed three or fewer runs in 15 of his 19 starts this season. Correia lost to the Phillies, 5-3, on June 1, when he gave up a season-high 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings.

PHI: LHP Cole Hamels (5-5, 4.72 ERA)
Rain cut short what was a very solid five-inning outing for Hamels against the Marlins on Friday, and he was then pushed back an extra day because rain cut Joe Blanton's start after 1 1/3 innings on Saturday. Despite giving up a home run to the first batter he faced, Hamels was in control, finishing his five frames -- before a 78-minute rain delay -- by giving up just that one run on four hits while walking one and striking out five. Hamels, who gave up five runs in six innings his previous start, threw 52 of his 68 pitches for strikes and only allowed one runner in scoring position, besides the solo shot by Chris Coghlan. In six career starts against the Padres, the San Diego native is 2-1 with a 3.25 ERA.

Padres closer Heath Bell has tried his best to provide some smiles in the team's clubhouse despite the losing trend. He recently showed off a black leather recliner that doubles as a moving wheelchair-like contraption with a steering stick. Several Padres, including Bell and outfielder Tony Gwynn, have taken spins around the clubhouse. ... Bell also talked about the two fish he keeps in a bowl inside his mailbox cubbyhole. Their names? Adrian and Edgar. Bell said his son decided to name the fish after the Gonzalez brothers. ... First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is on track to tie the Padres' record Saturday for most consecutive game appearances (305). ... The Padres flew to Washington on Wednesday, then will bus to Philadelphia for Thursday's makeup game before returning to the nation's capital for a three-game series beginning Friday.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• 4 San Diego

On radio
• XPRS 1090, XEMO 860 (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Padres (Mat Latos, 0-1, 4.50) at Nationals (Garrett Mock, 0-3, 7.71), 4:05 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Padres (Tim Stauffer, 0-1, 2.08) at Nationals (J.D. Martin, 0-1, 11.25), 4:05 p.m. PT
• Sunday: Padres (Chad Gaudin, 4-9, 4.82) at Nationals (John Lannan, 7-7, 3.38), 10:35 a.m. PT

Amy Brittain is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.