The Padres are now in the midst of their longest winning streak of the 2014 season with yesterday’s 2-0 win over the Giants. Over this stretch the Padres’ have outscored their opponents 16-3 and pitched 3 shutouts. It has been fun to watch this pure Padres dominance over the past few days.
Starting this afternoon is the man who started the streak, Odrisamer Despaigne (2-0, 0.66 ERA). I’m sure Giants hitters are groaning at the thought of seeing Despaigne again after facing him in his major league debut. The Cuban righty tossed 7 shutout innings allowing 4 hits and no walks. Now in Petco Park, Despaigne may be even tougher to hit for the scuffling Giants lineup. One thing they can hope for is that Despaigne’s command will be shaky like it was in his last outing. He allowed 4 walks in 6 2/3 innings, but he only allowed 1 run joining Bob Shirley as the only Padres’ starters to allow 1 run in their first 2 major league starts while pitching at least 6 2/3 innings.
The Giants will counter with veteran Tim Hudson (7-5, 2.59 ERA). For all the success Hudson has had this year, he’s had his fair share of struggles against the Padres’ losing 2 of his 5 and giving up an average of 3.33 runs per game in three of them.
His last start against the Padres in particular was the roughest one. He allowed 6 runs on 9 hits in 5 2/3 innings. It was the second most runs he’d allowed in a game this season, and now that the Padres are getting hot, so who knows what they could do to him this time. However, in his last start, Hudson did pitch well allowing just 2 runs over 8 innings despite picking up his 3rd consecutive loss.
Rookie Jake Goebbert will make his 4th start of the season today at first base for Tommy Medica who has just 1 hit in his last 12 at bats, including back to back 0 for 4 nights the past 2 games. Goebbert is slashing .357/.438/.357 this season in limiting playing time.
Brooks Conrad will also be starting today at second base. Padres’ second basemen have collectively slashed .179/.231/.267 putting them last in batting average and OBP and third to last in slugging. If one wants to look at it from a sabermetric point of view, their -1.5 WAR is the worst in the league by 1.1 wins, they’re last in wOBA with a .221 and their wRC+ of 39 ins 23 off the next closest.
The point is that Padres’ second basemen have been substantially worse than every of other teams. Conrad, who has torn up minor league pitching, provides the Padres with a chance to close the gap between them and the other teams. Nobody is looking for Conrad to be Robinson Cano, but if he can hit .200 that’d be an improvement.
Yesterday Huston Street converted his 23rd save in as many chances. He’s been nothing short of dominant, and hopefully he’ll get to continue his great run tonight and the Padres will notch their 6th straight victory. First pitch is at 4:15 PDT.
Keep the Faith.