SAN DIEGO — Among the many decisions facing the Diamondbacks this winter is what to make of Stephen Randolph. The left-hander on Saturday got his last chance this season to show he can be a starter — and the evidence continues to weigh against him.
Walks, Randolph's bugaboo his entire career, also figured in the San Diego Padres’ two-run burst in the seventh inning that led to an eventual 6-5 victory at Petco Park.
The loss was the Diamondbacks’ 108th, tied with the 1998 Marlins for most in the NL since 1970.
Chad Durbin (1-1) started the seventh inning with the score 4-4, and, after getting an out, gave up a single, two walks and Ryan Klesko's two-run double.
“I don't know why we can't make those guys swing the bat,” manager Al Pedrique said.
When the Diamondbacks issue fewer than four walks, they are 29-39. When they walk four or more — they had seven Saturday — they are 28-69.
Randolph got no decision, setting career highs with five strikeouts and 5 2/3 innings. But he still had trouble throwing strikes, walking five and throwing 49 balls out of his 103 pitches.
“We were hoping that he would show us that he can make the adjustment,” Pedrique said. “He didn't do it tonight. He had a good change-up, a good breaking ball, but he didn't have good command of the fastball.
“I don't know how much patience we're going to have, but I was hoping that that he would show me the stuff he showed me two years ago in (Class AAA) Tucson.”
Pedrique, who managed Randolph in 2001-02 in the minors, insists Randolph's problem is not mechanics but a tendency to nibble and a fear of contact.
“I feel very strongly if Randolph throws strikes and is consistently around the strike zone, he can be a starter,“ Pedrique said. “It's more mental, to trust his stuff and believe that when you work ahead in the count you have a chance to get people out.”
Pedrique cites as evidence Randolph's performance in 2002, when he went 15-7 for Class AAA Tucson and led the Pacific Coast League in wins. Randolph went 14-2 over his final 20 games, with 3.6 walks per nine innings.
Since then, in 95 big-league games, Randolph has averaged 7.6 walks per nine innings.
In six starts this year after moving into the rotation, Randolph threw just 55.6 percent strikes. He had 21 walks and 21 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings, with a 7.76 ERA and 0-3 record.
“I'm definitely not satisfied,” he said. “There's a lot of things to improve on. You take it for what it's worth and try to build on it.”
Randolph walked three men in Saturday's third inning, including two-out walks of Phil Nevin and Rich Aurilia to force in a run. Then Klesko lined a two-run single to give the Padres a 4-0 lead.
Arizona rallied to tie the game, and Randolph gave way after walking two more batters in the sixth.
Padres starter Adam Eaton, working on short rest for the first time as San Diego clings to playoff hopes, retired the first nine men he faced. But he tired quickly.
Arizona scored three times in the fourth to close within a run, and Chris Snyder's second two-out, RBI single of the game tied the score 4-4 in the sixth.