Padres send Howard to the mound in game 1
It would take a complete and utter collapse for the Giants to not win the NL West. After winning five consecutive series, the Padres lost 2 of 3 to the Houston Astros. The Padres have a 3-9 record against the Giants this season.
RHP Ben Howard (1-0, 3.65) and RHP Kevin Correia (1-1, 2.05)
Ben Howard was terrific his last time out. The only thing alarming about Howard so far is his propensity to give up the long ball. He has given up 3 HRs in 12.1 IP. He throws a nice slider, good change, and a good fastball. Howard has reportedly hit 98 on a gun, but the highest he has been at Qualcomm is 94, and it will range from 89-92 normally.
This will be a homecoming for the San Diego native Correia, who has had a meteoric rise to the majors. A 4th round pick out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Correia has risen rapidly. In fact, the bulk of his pitching this season was done at AA Norwich. The Padres have not done well off pitchers they have never seen before but hope to change that trend.
RHP Brian Lawrence (8-14, 4.27) and LHP Kirk Reuter (7-5, 4.99)
BLaw will never dazzle you with velocity, but what he does do is go out and throw at least 6 innings every time out and give your team a chance to win. You have to go back to July 30th for his last bad outing, which was also the last game BLaw gave up a home run.
Reuter is a pitcher that has given the Padres fits. However, Reuter has been beat up a bit in his last three starts, as he has allowed over 5 runs per start and is averaging under 5 IP in that time span. Reuter has spent time on the DL this season with a shoulder strain. He has never been a strike out guy, but the injury has impacted his overall effectiveness.
RHP Adam Eaton (8-10, 4.18) and RHP Jerome Williams (6-4, 3.45)
When I saw Adam Eaton still throwing in the bullpen at 7:01 pm before his last outing, I knew he was in trouble. Things did not improve during the warm-up. He was battling, but he just could not locate. Things like that happen. He threw a first pitch curve to Bagwell over the inner half and Bagwell went big fly. Ball game. Eaton still has the good velocity and hard breaking curve working, look for him to rebound in this game.
Barring injury, Williams, a 21 year old Hawaiian, may have the brightest future of all the Giants young pitchers. Baseball America ranked him as the Giants top prospect in 2001 and 2002, he dropped to 3rd this season after college seasoned Jesse Foppert and Kurt Ainsworth passed him. He reportedly throws in the low 90s but can hit 94-95. He also throws a change, curve, and slider. His biggest struggle has been with the free pass, so the Padres need to make him throw strikes.
Batters to Watch
Phil Nevin has been hot, and the rest of baseball has noticed naming him the NL Player of the Week. He has hit .333 (6 of 18) with 3 HRs, 1 double and 10 RBIs. Padre fans have been angry with Phil since last season when some harsh comments were attributed to him. The fact is Nevin will never be a fan favorite. He rarely smiles on the field and in general seems crabby. He is a fierce competitor, from several accounts signs autographs for kids, and even admitted the team was better with Burroughs at third. It is time to forgive him and move on because I think he will only continue to get better at 1st and this team needs a power bat from the right side.
Barry Bonds. Do I really need to say more? Padre fans dread this guy more than any other, although I am sure we are not alone in this. This week I will not “boo” Barry Bonds, not out of respect for him, but out of respect for his father, Bobby.
Sean Burroughs has been getting on base nearly 50% of the time since moving to the leadoff spot. Brian Giles was also a finalist for the NL Player of the week after hitting .438, 1 HR, 6 RBI. Well, I imagine that Giles had to show respect for his elders considering Nevin is exactly one day older than Giles. The groundskeepers at Qualcomm have decided to re-sod a portion of the field. Admittedly, the field is bad. Seriously, if you can see from the seating area that there are a lot of holes where grass should be than it is even worse on the field. The sod will not have taken root and I fear more injuries will result.
Kim Lewis can be reached at email@example.com