RHP Ismael Valdez (3-2, 4.47) and LHP Joe Kennedy (4-2, 2.82)
After going 3-0 as a starter and reminding people of his successful days as a Dodger, Valdez has reverted back to Texas Ranger form. Staked to a 6-0 lead in Pittsburgh, he threw the game away, literally by making an errant throw to 3rd which allowed 2 runs to cross the plate and giving the Pirates new life. Valdez has given up 5 home runs in his last 3 starts.
When Kennedy was a Devil Ray he always showed flashes of brilliance, but never was consistent. Apparently, pitching coach Bob Apodaca has really worked wonders with Kennedy, because he has pitched lights out both home and away, inducing tons of ground balls.
RHP Adam Eaton (1-4, 5.23) and RHP Jason Jennings (2-5, 8.50)
Pitching coach Darren Balsley must have figured something out with Adam Eaton, because he was very tough against the team that drafted him (Philadelphia). Eaton certainly deserved the win. It was a rare instance that the bullpen blew the lead. Keep it going Adam, Linebrink, Otsuka, and Hoffman will usually get the job done.
Jennings was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2002. He has not been the same since. In 2003, he went 12-13 with a 5.11 ERA, not bad for Colorado, but not as well as 2002. He is winless at home this season. He has a record of 0-3 with a 9.43 ERA at Coors Field.
RHP Justin Germano (1-0, 7.20) and RHP Aaron Cook (0-0, 7.36)
Rough beginning to life in the big leagues for Germano, his first start was in Citizens Bank Park in Philly, already nicknamed Coors East. Now his 2nd start is in the original Coors Field. Talk about being born under a bad sign. His promise was command; well he did not exactly deliver with 4 walks over 5 innings. However, you can probably chalk at least some of it up to nerves.
Cook is a bit of a mystery. He has tremendous, nasty stuff, but does not always locate it in the zone. He started the season in AAA Colorado Springs and was recalled on May 17th, and got a ND against the Mets in New York.
Hitters to Watch
The Padres gave up a lot of potential to get a proven commodity in Brian Giles. After a brutal start, he has been on fire. He is hitting .342 in May, with an OB % of .422, 5 HR and 15 RBI.
Normally you would see Preston Wilson, Larry Walker, or Todd Helton here. However, with Wilson and Walker on the DL and Helton nursing a bad back, Jeromy Burnitz is the choice. He is hitting .300 with 13 HRs, and 36 RBI. Good to see Coors inflation is still alive and well.
With Ramon Vazquez currently on the DL, the team surprisingly brought up Dennis Tankersley to pitch out of the bullpen. This is role unfamiliar to Tank, and while he was sharp in his first inning of work, he did not do well pitching on back to back days.
Kim Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org