The Padres are back in first place after winning three straight and five out of their last six games and they’ve been playing some great baseball. Their mediocre offense has put up 23 runs in their last two games and they have two more games against one of the worst team’s in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles.
Adrian Gonzalez isn’t getting enouch mention as an MVP candidate. I know he “only” has 14 homersun and he’s hitting just .296 but this guy is the cornerstone of the offense. He’s really the only guy on the team with an above average OPS (Mike Cameron has an OPS+ of 102 versus Gonzalez’s 144). If you can live with the strikeouts, and I can, Gonzalez is having one heck of a season.
And what can you say about the pitching. Jake Peavy is the Cy Young winner of the first half and the team is sporting an incredible 2.97 ERA. Chris Young is right there with Peavy and Greg Maddux is doing just about what we expected from him. Heath Bell has been the stud out of the pen and he has 45 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. Anyway, it’s been a long time since a team has finished with below a 3.00 ERA and the Padres have a chance to do just that.
The Padres pulled the trigger on a trade today and they picked up catcher Michael Barrett. Josh Bard has been pretty mediocre and while Barrett has had a rough year, he brings some pop. He has nine homers this year (in only 57 games) and he hit 16 the previous three seasons. Hopefully he change of scenery and the Padres winning ways will help turn his season around.
The guy the Padres gave up (other then backup catcher Rob Bowen) was Kyler Burke. He was a supplemental first round pick by the Cubs in 2006 but he had a tough time in the Arizona League in his first professional season and he hasn’t done much better this year in Low A at Fort Wayne (he’s hitting just .211). Barrett is a free agent at the end of the year so this is more of a rental but the price wasn’t all that high.
Justin Germano tries to make it 6-0 tonight. The Padres will face one of the Orioles better starters in Jeremy Guthrie so this could be an interesting one. Game time is in less then hour and I’ll be listening in.
Just four days ago, there was a three way tie for first place in the National League West. Now, after a three game sweep over the Dodgers and five wins in a row overall, the Padres have broken away from the pack, at least for the time being.
Jake Peavy looked mortal yesterday. It was the first time since opening day he was tagged for four runs in a start and his ERA almost pushed above 2.00 because of it. Still, with 95 strikeouts and a 7-1 record (the offense bailed him out yesterday), he’s definitely on his way toward his first Cy Young.
The pitching star of the series was Chris Young. He threw seven shutout innings in the opener on Tuesday to keep the Padres in the game. It was eventually only a 1-0 win and Young got us there with a 117 pitch outing. Also, congratulations to Trevor Hoffman, who had two saves in the series. He became the first pitcher ever to save 500 games in a season. What a season he’s having, holding the opposition to a 1.79 batting average.
Interleague play starts back up tonight and the Padres play three against the Mariners, this time at home. The Mariners are somewhat surprising this year and the most interesting pitching match up is the finale on Sunday, when Chris Young takes on a struggling Felix Hernandez. You have to feel for Felix because he was so good in those first two starts. Now he’s looked rather mortal since his injury.
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