Pitching Rebounds, Padres Claim Road Series


May 30, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy (22) throws a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres (26-31) won their second road series of the year, taking the series in Chicago from the White Sox (29-29). There is a little more optimism in the air even after running into the buzz saw that was Chris Sale. The pitching was better and the offense showed life once again (again, with the exception of Sale’s masterful performance).

The team hit .228 as a whole with 3 home runs and 7 doubles. Will Venable impressed with his 4-for-4 performance in Saturday’s 4-2 win. The starting pitching was really the key to the series’ victory. The starters of Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Eric Stults combined for 18 innings, 14 hits, 6 runs and 20 strikeouts. Kennedy had one of his best outings of the year, striking out 9 and only allowing one run.

Ross’s outing was good as well, striking out 5 and only allowing one run. Ross and Kennedy combined for an ERA of 1.50. The bullpen pitched 6 nearly perfect innings in relief of their starts.

Speaking of the bullpen, Huston Street nabbed 2 saves in the series, putting him at 17, which is tied for the major league lead. His ERA is now down to 1.23 and he has 24 strikeouts in 22 innings. He is a perfect 17-for-17 in save opportunities and is an underrated factor in the Padres only being 4 games out of the wild card spot (pending the Dodgers/Pirates game Sunday night).

The offensive player of the series goes to Rene Rivera. He has quietly been productive when spelling Yasmani Grandal. This series he had 3 hits, all 3 of them being doubles, with an RBI and a run scored.

Though the Padres have that bad taste in their mouth from getting gunned down by Sale on Sunday, there are a lot of positives to this series win. First, both wins featured someone else stepping up to lead the Friars to victory. It wasn’t just one player carrying the load. Friday was Kennedy and Alonso. Saturday’s victory was due to Venable’s 4-hit game, Ross’s good pitching and a great defensive play by Chris Denorfia. The Padres head home to face a tough homestand, but after this series, the Padres should roll into San Diego with a bit more confidence.