Colin Rea is making the decision to name him the Padres 5th starter out of Spring Training look pretty darn good. He did not allow a hit last night until two outs in the 7th inning, and ended up pitching into the 9th in the Padres in the Padres 5-3 victory over the (previously) red hot New York Mets. Rea didn’t allow a run until Curtis Granderson homered to start the 9th which spelled the end of the night for Rea. Brad Hand couldn’t stop things there but Fernando Rodney came in for the final two outs securing his 7th save and is still not scored upon for the season.
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The Padres have now gone 5-5 in their last 10 games. They bounced back from losing 3 of 4 to Philadelphia (who by the way is a lot better than we thought when the season started at 16-13) to take 2 of 3 from the Dodgers losing only on a Clayton Kershaw shutout, 2 of 3 from the Rockies and now the opener against the defending National League Champion Mets. Not bad at all.
Furthermore, while losing Tyson Ross and Robbie Erlin might have spelled immediate doom for the Padres, the starting pitching has stepped up in a big way; from the continued success and innings from James Shields, quality starts from Andrew Cashner, great performances from Drew Pomeranz, rookie Cesar Vargas making this look easy, and now Rea elevated his own status last night.
It is well documented that the Padres have never thrown a no-hitter in their history. While Rea does not dominate with a 100 MPH fastball, he effectively mixes speed, location, and has great control when at his best and working ahead in the count. He threw 107 pitches on the evening and with those pitches struck out 5, walked just 1 and in the end allowed three hits.
Yoenis Cespedes broke it up with a two out single in the 7th, but Rea recovered to get Lucas Duda to ground out to first baseman Wil Myers. Speaking of Wil, he gave the Padres an early lead with a first inning moonshot home run to center field. Rea helped himself with a second inning RBI single and Derek Norris hit his second home run of the year to help build up the Padres lead.
Rea is now 3-1 on the season with a 3.82 ERA but if you take away his start in Colorado his ERA would be just 2.81. On top of that he has now turned in 5 straight starts going at least 5 innings and allowing 3 runs or less. In his 6 starts he has walked 3 or less 5 of the 6 starts with again the lone outlier in Colorado when he walked 4 in just 3 1/3 innings. By the way the Padres won that game anyway.
The right-hander took advantage of his opportunity last season in a handful of starts and is absolutely seizing it early on in 2016. He is making a great name for himself and solidifying his spot in the rotation. Will he be able to help pitch the Padres into contention in the (so far) mediocre NL West?