Game Preview: Padres Kick Off Series With Twins

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Jun 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher

Jesse Hahn

(45) pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Pitching Matchup:

The Padres will tab rookie Jesse Hahn (7-2, 2.01 ERA) to start off the series. This will be Hahn’s 10th start of his young career. It’ll be the first time that he’ll get a chance to have a DH bat for him, so that may take a burden off of his shoulders and could give him a little longer of a leash because Bud Black won’t have to account for any pinch hitting situations involving him.

That longer leash should be a good thing, because Hahn has been as good as anyone recently. He’s won his last 3 major league starts and has only allowed 1 run in each of them and a combined 10 hits. While there was a minor league stint mixed in there, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Hahn dominated 3 teams in the midst of a pennant race, and two of them were on the road.

Opposing him will be Phil Hughes (10-8, 4.12 ERA). Hughes started off the year looking like he had finally hit his stride and living up to the potential the Yankees thought he had.

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In his first 11 starts Hughes went 6-1 with a 3.12 ERA, including a 7 inning shutout performance against the Padres. Since then he’s made 11 more starts going 4-7 with a 5.14 ERA, in large part due to being tagged for 5 or more runs in 6 of those starts. While it looks like batters figured out whatever Hughes was doing and he’s hit a wall since, but if you look a little deeper you’ll notice something strange.

In those 11 starts he got a little lucky, posting an xFIP of 3.61 suggests his results were a little better than expected. Following those 11 starts, he’s been extremely unlucky with a xFIP   of 2.92. So if you believe in what xFIP tells us, he’s pitched better but has returned worse results. Hopefully his rotten luck will continue, at least for tonight.