The Padres have now won back-to-back games on the backs of their two rookie starters, Odrisamer Despaigne and Jesse Hahn. And while the bats are still nowhere to be found, the team has found a way to win thanks to these strong pitching performances from unlikely sources.
Today the Padres will turn to a guy who they expected turn out big outings for them when they acquired him, Ian Kennedy (5-9, 4.01 ERA). Unfortunately for the Padres, he hasn’t been that dominant starter they expected see in his last few outings. In his last 4 starts he’s 0-3 and has allowed 17 runs. That’s not exactly spectacular, esspecially when the two rookies who pitch before him in the rotation have been phenomenal. He has continued to strike out batters at an elite rate, but he’s allowing more hits and walks which has led to the drop off in his performance. Although it has been disappointing to see given his hot start, Mark Whelan points out that we should’ve seen this coming. Despite that we can hope that he’ll follow up the rookie’s with an equally spectacular performance.
Mike Leake (6-6, 3.41 ERA) will get the chance to oppose Kennedy. Leake has been a force on the mound his last two times out. In both starts he’s gone 8 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits against two first place teams the Giants and the Blue Jays. In his last start he struck out a season 12. This Mike Leake looks a lot like the Mike Leake who allowed just 1 run on 2 hits over 8 innings against the Padres earlier this year. With all of this, you’d think the Padres were doomed, but for every great start Leake has he counters it with an equally bad one. Half of his starts he’s allowed 2 or fewer, but obviously the other half he’s given up 3 or more. And while 3 runs isn’t bad, he’s only allowed exactly 3 runs twice. The Padres will try to make the bad Leake show up, but with this offense don’t be surprised if Leake continues his great run.
Today’s lineup does not include Everth Cabrera due to a hamstring strain. Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing, because he hasn’t had a hit in his last 4 games and is 12 for his last 100. Alexi Amarista will shift over to short and Irving Falu will get a chance to get his first hit in the 2014 campaign.
Even though this team has vastly under performed in many areas, one thing they’ve excelled at is winning the close ballgames. They have a 17-9 record in 1 run ballgames, the best record in all of baseball, but when the gap widens the Padres record drops significantly. In games decided by 2 runs or fewer they’re only 24-23, but their 47 games is 3rd in the majors. This really magnifies how brilliant the pitching has been and how terrible the hitting has been.
Hopefully the Padres can tally more than just 1 hit tonight, but if it leads to the same result then I can live with it. First pitch is at 7:10 PDT.
Keep the Faith.