After sweeping what had been the majors’ hottest team, LaRoche and the Pirates open a three-game series with the San Diego Padres in a matchup of two of the NL’s most surprising clubs.
Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.09 ERA) will take the mound for the Padres in the opener of this series. In his last outing, the right-hander gave up two runs in five innings but San Diego lost 7-2 to New York on April 15.
Correia is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in one start and three relief appearances versus the Pirates.
Pittsburgh will counter with Ian Snell (1-2, 4.24), who won his last start Saturday as he surrendered four hits in seven innings of a 10-0 victory over Atlanta.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances against San Diego.
Brian Giles has always been a slow starter. His career batting average of .271 for the first month of the season is 23 points below his major league average.
But his start to the 2009 season is particularly slow—with a twist.
During his career, the 38-year-old outfielder has averaged 0.65 walks per game, leading to a career on-base percentage of .404.
This season, Giles has drawn only four walks, and none over the Padres’ last nine games. Not only is he hitting .159, he has also reached base only 14 times in 15 games while hitting in front of Adrian Gonzalez.
Giles’ slugging percentage is .194, and his on-base percentage is down to .212.
• RHP Kevin Correia will be working with eight days’ rest Friday when he makes his third start of the season against the Pirates at Petco Park. The added rest comes as a result of Monday’s rainout in Philadelphia. “Any pitcher welcomes extra rest,” Correia said. “But I can’t remember when was the last time I was rained out of a start.”
• RHP Luke Gregerson, who struck out three in two perfect innings of relief Wednesday in San Francisco, is drawing praise from Padres manager Bud Black. “I like how he goes about his business,” said Black of the rookie, who has a 2.70 ERA after eight appearances and 10 innings. Gregerson was acquired from St. Louis during spring training to complete the trade for SS Khalil Greene.
• The Padres will play a road game at Philadelphia on May 23 to make up the game lost to rain on Monday. The game will be played on a regularly scheduled open date for both the Padres and the Phillies. The date falls in front of a scheduled seven-game road trip to Washington and Cincinnati. It is also just eight days after the All-Star break.
By The Numbers: 9-3—The Padres’ fastest start after 12 games since the 1998 team went 9-3 en route to the National League pennant.
Quote To Note: “I think this year, the team is more together and doing the little things. There is more energy on the bench.”—SS Luis Rodriguez talking about the Padres’ 9-4 start. Part of the reason for the early-season success: Rodriguez had hit three sacrifice files and drawn nine walks in 38 plate appearances.
SS Everth Cabrera’s injury left the Padres looking for a backup shortstop. The player they acquired, INF/OF Chris Burke, had played just 17 games at shortstop (six starts) in his big-league career.
• 2B David Eckstein is riding a six-game hitting streak (9-for-21). But it is the way the veteran has used his bat in the No. 2 slot that has impressed the Padres. Eckstein has a National League-leading five sacrifice bunts in 14 games. Only one Padres position player had more over the whole of the 2008 season.
• 1B Adrian Gonzalez has hit safely in 13 of the Padres’ 15 games and has reached base in every game. Gonzalez has drawn 12 walks and has a .433 on-base percentage to go along with five homers and 11 RBIs.
• RHP Chris Young has yet to allow an earned run in over 14 innings in day games this season. Both those starts, incidentally, were against the Giants.
RHP Walter Silva (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 14. Manager Bud Black said he likely would be out longer than the minimum time.
OF Cliff Floyd (inflamed right knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 5 with a right shoulder strain. He recovered from the shoulder injury when the knee problem began. Floyd is scheduled to have an MRI exam April 23.
RHP Cha Seung Baek (strained right forearm) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30. He threw a bullpen session April 21 and will throw another April 24. After that, he could start a rehab assignment.
INF Everth Cabrera (broken hamate bone in left hand) went on the 60-day disabled list April 20. He had surgery April 21, and he’s expected to be out six to eight weeks before beginning an extended rehab assignment.
RHP Mike Adams (right shoulder surgery in October 2008) went on the 15-day disabled list April 2, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 5. He had not resumed throwing from the mound as of March 27.
RHP Mark Worrell (Tommy John elbow surgery in March 2009) went on the 15-day disabled list April 2, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 5. He is out for the season.
RHP Mark Prior (right shoulder surgeries in April 2007 and June 2008) was progressing as the Padres broke camp. “If he’s healthy, Mark’s my ace in the hole,” Padres general manager Kevin Towers said. If Prior continues to advance, he could join the Padres in May.