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Black concerned that struggling hitters are pressing

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SAN DIEGO -- No offense to D-backs pitcher Bronson Arroyo, who held the Padres to three hits in seven scoreless innings on Friday, but manager Bud Black felt his hitters contributed to Arroyo's success more than they should have.

"As well as he pitched, I felt we helped him by swinging at some balls below the [strike] zone," Black said.

Black said he's sensed recently that his hitters are pressing, the result of a slow start, which has the team ranked last in the big leagues in runs (77 in 30 games) going into Saturday's game against the D-backs.

According to FanGraphs, the Padres ranked 13th in the big leagues in O-swing, which is the percentage of pitches they've swung out outside the strikes zone (29.7 percent). The team is 11th in baseball in terms of strikeouts (246), many of which have occurred when they've expanded the strike zone.

Black certainly can't fault his hitters for wanting to be successful, but chasing pitches outside the strike zone isn't the way to do it. It can lead to weak contact or strikeouts. Either way, it's no good.

"It goes back to swinging at strikes and taking balls," Black said.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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