The San Diego Padres win Monday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks by a final score of 4 – 1 off a solid pitching performance by veteran Eric Stults, and a 3 run HR from Nick Hundley. The Diamondbacks had been on a torrid hitting streak for the last few games but cool off their bats in San Diego. Eric Stults allowed 1 earned run off of 7 hits and 2 walks, going 6 1/3 innings for the win. Stults threw a mix of 49.1% 4 seam fastballs, 23.3% sliders, 22.4% change-ups, and 5.2% curveballs over 116 pitches. Stults is now at 10-13 with a 3.94 ERA, having cooled off considerably from his fast first half start into more pedestrian numbers in line with his career numbers. The Padres have gone 16 – 16 in games started by Stults.
With possibly one more start by Eric Stults with 6 games remaining, it makes me wonder if there is a place for Eric on next year’s team. I love watching his curveball, as it is beautiful to watch with that easy bend. But then again, all curve balls are beautiful to behold and the question at hand is whether or not Eric Stults’s performance warrants a repeat for a team that tantalizes at contending. Eric is a fan favorite for his character and his ability to maximize results from his tools. I like him and have written many good things about him. Buddy Black likes him and he is a good role model, especially on Andrew Cashner who is just starting to mix his pitches and take a few mph off his fastball in return for better results. To be frank, I think Eric is at best an average pitcher that is clever and maximizes his tools, but is also aging. That being said, I feel he deserves a shot. I would expect to see Eric return next year, but also compete like his did in Spring Training, for the final few starting slots.
The Padres hitters managed 4 runs offs of 8 hits and only 1 walk, leaving much area to improve in the patience category. Nick Hundley makes a timely home run with runners on base and that turns out to be the difference maker. Chase Headley, Tommy Medica, and Chris Denorfia pick up a pair of hits each and round off the hitting category for the Padres. Overall, the Padres did just enough to win and give the fans something to cheer about. Go Padres.