Rockies at Padres Preview

The Padres lead off the home stand with a NL West team they have surprisingly struggled against.

Game One
RHP Adam Eaton (1-5, 5.92) and RHP Jason Jennings (3-5, 8.05)

After getting pounded in the rarefied air of Coors Field, Eaton is hoping that a little home cooking will help him end May on a positive note. His last 5 decisions have all been losses. His ERA at the end of April was 3.74, adding over 2 runs to his ERA by the end of May is just brutal.

The Padres hit against Jennings, managing 9 hits over 6 innings but only plated 3 runs. Jennings will give up his share of walks. His sinker is still tremendous, but he has given up an alarming number of bombs (12) considering last season he only allowed 20 in 181+ innings.

Game Two
RHP Justin Germano (1-0, 3.27) and RHP Aaron Cook (0-0, 5.19)

Germano managed to escape the 2 of the better hitter's parks in the NL with only 1 HR given up. The most alarming thing about Germano is the number of walks (9) exceeds his strikeouts (8), especially when Kevin Towers was touting his control. I guess the umpires in the Southern League and PCL have different strike zones than their Major League counterparts.

Aaron Cook was dominant in his last outing against the Padres, allowing only 1 run over 6+. Khalil Greene's 2 run homer off closer Shawn Chacon robbed Cook of his first win of the year. His average against is not great (.329) but it is the ability to work out of jams that defines a pitcher.

Game Three
RHP Brian Lawrence (7-3, 4.40) and LHP Shawn Estes (6-3, 5.78)

In his performance against the Brewers, fans saw BLaw at his best. In 7 IP he allowed only 4 hits, stuck out 10 and did not walk a batter. His only mistake was getting a pitch up to Ben Grieve which he promptly deposited in the seats otherwise we would have seen 7 shutout innings. BLaw closed out the month with a 3.19 ERA. BLaw credits pitching coach, Darren Balsley with helping work out his mechanics which has seemingly gotten BLaw back on track.

Estes began his once promising career in San Francisco, where he won 19 games in 1997. The road has not been as smooth since. Other than going 15-6 in 2000 with the Giants, Estes has failed to have a winning record. His biggest downfall is control, he has given up 30 walks in 62.1 IP, which is better than his career line. Phil Nevin has struggled against Estes in his career, while Jeff Cirillo and Jay Payton have had their share of success against him.

Hitters to Watch

Jay Payton got off to a slow start but has hit over .350 in May to bring his average up to .305, while providing solid defense in centerfield.

Todd Helton missed 6 games including the series against the Padres but he is the Rockies premier player and is usually always in the hunt for the batting title.

Other Notes

The Padres went 7-5 on their long road trip without David Wells or Jake Peavy. Peavy is likely on the shelf for 4-6 weeks with inflammation in his elbow. The good news is his MRI did not show any structural damage.

Kim Lewis can be reached at kim@sandiegosports.net

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