RHP Jake Peavy
Arizona Diamondbacks (3-6) at San Diego Padres (4-5)
RHP Jake Peavy (0-0, 1.46) and LHP Randy Johnson (0-1, 5.54)
Peavy should be 2-0, as the bullpen has twice coughed up multi-run leads during his outings. He is getting tougher on the mound, not trying to strike out guys, and being more economical with his pitches.
He has more groundballs than fly balls, which is a great sign that he is maturing as a pitcher. That said, he hasn’t pitched well against the D’backs. However, most of his starts against them at the BOB, and he has struggled mightily. Luis Gonzalez and Steve Finley have had their way with him.
Randy Johnson is not the same pitcher that won 4 consecutive Cy Young awards. However, you cannot exactly call him washed up either. You can still expect him to throw mid to upper 90s gas with the wicked slider. You can also expect that Klesko and Giles will sit against him.
RHP Ismael Valdez (0-0, 6.75) and RHP Brandon Webb (1-0, 2.25)
Ah, the moment Padres’ fans have been dreading, the 5th spot in the rotation finally comes into play. The team fully expected Sterling Hitchcock to take this role, but with the Hitchcock recovering from an oblique strain, that shoves Valdez into spotlight. Valdez has been awful in relief; perhaps he can right the ship with a start. I know, I know, I am dreaming.
Brandon Webb arguably should have won the ROY award last season. He didn’t have as much flair, but he certainly had a tremendous amount of substance. Webb throws a heavy sinker, change, and a curve. The key is the heavy sinker, even when guys know it is coming they can’t do anything with it.
RHP Adam Eaton (1-0, 1.80) and RHP Steve Sparks (0-1, 10.25)
Adam Eaton is finally becoming the pitcher that was expected when he was the keystone of the Andy Ashby trade. Of course, he had Tommy John surgery in that time, but he is showing a mental toughness that wasn’t seen last season. I don’t know if you can attribute the change to pitching coach Darren Balsley or to catcher, Ramon Hernandez, or to just plain maturity but Eaton is different. He is being more aggressive with 0-2 counts, attacking the zone with high 4-seamers. His curveball is tighter, not that big lollipop curve. He is fun to watch.
Sparks is knuckleballer that has spent his entire career in the AL. If his knuckler is working well, he is keeping it down in the zone, if not watch out. The guys will have show patience if they are going to drive the ball.
Hitters to Watch
I have to stay with the hot bats of Sean Burroughs and Mark Loretta. Each has hit in the first 9 games of the season, Burroughs has 5 multi-hit games to Loretta’s 4. Better pick up the pace, Mark.
Steve Finley. I don’t care if he is 0 for 50 slump; he always manages to hit against the Padres.
Mark Loretta was the last Padre to hit a homer at Qualcomm and the first to hit one in Petco (during the regular season). David Well had a Homer Simpson moment when quoted as saying, (I’m paraphrasing) “Shut up and play.” After getting punked by the Dodgers, perhaps his teammates will tell him to just shut up and pitch. Only 757 runs let until 800.
Kim Lewis can be reached at email@example.com