Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Padres-Rockies: Young Can't Stop the Bleeding, Padres' Loss

The last time Padres' ace Jake Peavy struggled, their number two man Chris Young came out and was dominant in his outing. Only problem was he left with a no decision and the Padres ended up losing that game to the Giants.

This time around, both pitchers struggled and both in a big way. After Peavy gave up five runs against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, the Padres were hoping Chris Young would be able to come out and stop the bleeding and keep the team from their third straight loss and sixth loss in their last seven games. Unfortunately, it didn't go the way they or Young had hoped as the Padres were thumped by the Colorado Rockies 12-7 from Coors Field on Monday night.

The Rockies jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the very first inning, but the Padres would rally for four runs in the third inning to take a 4-2 lead, a lead that Chris Young usually holds, but not on this night.

Young would give up eight runs (all earned) on seven hits in just three innings of work, his ERA now up to 5.74 in just four starts. If you were to tell me that Jake Peavy and Chris Young would both have an ERA close to 6.00 after just four starts each, I would have told you the Padres would be struggling mightily, and they are.

With Chris Young's loss last night, it marks the fourth straight game the Padres have lost with either Peavy or Young on the mound, both pitchers sporting a 5.74 ERA and it marked Young's second implosion in his last three starts.

Over the past few seasons, it's been the offense that has given their pitchers a lack of support, only scoring one or two runs a game. This time, it's their pitching that can't hold leads.

The offense had given them leads against Philadelphia just a few weeks ago, a lead that disappeared in just one inning, a game they eventually lost.

They had a lead against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon after a two run home run from Adrian Gonzalez, a lead Jake Peavy quickly gave up and then some.

And then there was last night, down 2-0 after one inning, to come back and score four runs in third to give your starter a 4-2 lead just for him to turn around and give those four runs right back and have the lead vanish just like that.

So, if Peavy can't stop the bleeding and neither can your number two guy in Chris Young, who is going to step up and take the initiative? Will it be Kevin Correia, who seems to be the Padres' most affective pitcher to this point? Will it be Josh Geer, who had a terrific first start last week but had a disastrous relief appearance on Sunday afternoon? Or will it be Chad Gaudin, the man who is slated to start against Colorado after being called up from Triple-A Portland yesterday?

The Padres need to figure out something and quickly. Their starters have only worked into the seventh inning just a few times this season, one of those being Josh Geer's start last week. Their bullpen is overworked, which would explain the struggles of Duaner Sanchez (7.11) and Edward Mujica (4.15), not to mention Luis Perdomo (6.43).

Since the Padres 9-4 start to the season, they've lost six of their last seven and they currently sit at 10-10 with no sign of recovery in sight.

All this team can do is hope that Chad Gaudin can hold the Rockies in check and let their offense do what they've done well so far this season, put up runs. If they can do that and if Gaudin can work into the seventh inning and hand the lead over to the Padres' bullpen, San Diego might be able to stop the free-fall they're currently experiencing.

If he can't stop the losses, don't expect that same free fall to end any time soon.

Additional Padre notes: Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez extended his hit streak to eight straight games with an RBI double in the top half of the sixth inning. He has reached base safely in all 20 games this season.

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