The big news of the day was the Padres sending the face of their franchise, Chase Headley to the Yankees for Yangervis Solarte and Rafael DePaula. Now the Padres will adjust to life after Headley, and all that will start tonight against the Cubs in Chicago.
Getting the start today for the Friars will be Eric Stults (3-11, 4.98 ERA). There has been criticism of the Padres for leaving Stults, an aging veteran who has proven himself to be anything but reliable, in the rotation over Jesse Hahn, who was sent to Double-A before the break. Now will be Stults’ chance to prove his doubters wrong against a weak Cubs’ lineup. Stults has also started to turn a corner, allowing 3 earned runs or fewer in all 5 of his previous starts before the break. Hopefully Stults can continue the dominance shown by the Padres pitching over the last month (27 games) where they have posted a collective 2.08 ERA and holding batters to a .209 batting average.
Facing Stults will be rookie Kyle Hendricks (0-0, 6.00 ERA). This will be his second major league start and his first in Wrigley Field. He didn’t pitch poorly in his debut against the Reds where he went 6 innings allowing 4 runs on 5 hits while striking out 7. Now he’ll get a chance to face a lineup not nearly as deep as Cincinnati’s and in friendly confines. Maybe the Padres the can take advantage of his inexperience and find a way to give Stults some early run support.
In the lineup tonight Chris Nelson will be given the task of replacing Chase Headley at third. Obvisouly no one expects him to be Headley, but his bat was just starting to heat up and in a struggeling lineup , they’ll need someone, or multiple someones to carry the load that Headley once did. Maybe that can be Nelson who has gone 4 for 10 in his first 3 games with the Padres.
Taking the 2 spot in the order will be Alexi Amarista. While he doesn’t have the strongest track record the Little Ninja has picked up his play since moving to short. In his 19 games as a shortstop this season he’s batting an even .300. He also brings some speed to the top of the order, giving team RBI leaders Seth Smith and Yasmani Grandal, who occupy the 3 and 4 spots respectively, a chance to drive him on anything in the gap.
Hopefully the Padres can take advantage of team that has struggled just as much, if not more, than they have in 2014. First pitch is at 5:05 PDT.