Sunday, May 24, 2009

Padres-Cubs: Geer Stifles Cubs, Padres Win Eighth Straight

If I had told you a few weeks ago that the Padres would win eight straight after going through a 4-18 slump, there's not a single person that would have believed me. But that's exactly what they've done.

Josh Geer pitched a strong six and two third innings on Saturday night, giving up just one run and striking out a career high seven batters, as the Padres won their eighth straight in a 3-1 win over the Cubs.

When Chicago jumped out early on a solo home run from first baseman Derek Lee to lead off the second inning, it looked like the Cubs were going to show their strength, but Geer would settle down and shut down the Cubs through the next five and a third innings.

If you want an amazing stat through this eight game win streak, and this should absolutely show why strong pitching beats a strong offense. The San Diego Padres, as a team, are hitting .198, their starters have a collective 2.22 ERA and their bullpen you ask, well they're just shutting everyone down to the tune of a 0.34 ERA (tip of the cap to Corey Brock of for those stats).

Even though the Padres, as a team, aren't hitting above the Mendoza line during this streak, they're getting the timely hits when they need them. That's exactly what happened on Saturday night against the Cubs.

In the fourth, with two on and two out, Brian Giles hit a shot just inside the left field line, scoring Edgar Gonzalez and Scott Hairston to put San Diego ahead, 2-1.

The score would stay that way until the seventh inning when Chris Burke would add an insurance run with an RBI single to center, scoring Nick Hundley and giving San Diego a 3-1 lead.

Things would get dicey in the top half of the ninth. With Heath Bell unavailable, Padres' manager Bud Black turned to Edward Mujica to close out the game and get his first save of the season. Right off the bat, he would give up back-to-back singles to former Padre Milton Bradley and first baseman Derek Lee.

With runners on the corners and noone out, it looked like the Cubs could be set for a ninth inning rally but Mujica got outfielder Micah Hoffpauir to hit a grounder right at Adrian Gonzalez who looked Bradley back to third and throw out Lee at second base for the all important double play. Mujica would then get Giovany Soto to strike out to end the game and push San Diego's win streak to eight games.

It was the Padres' bullpen that again came up strong after Geer's big outing. Greg Burke, Luke Gregerson and Edward Mujica combined for two and a third scoreless innings giving up just two hits and striking out three to close out the game. They've been a huge factor for this team and have been nothing short of dominant since the shakeup almost a few weeks ago.

The Padres will go for their ninth straight win, something they haven't done since 2006 as they finish out their three game set against the Cubs on Sunday afternoon. The Padres ran up nine straight from April 30th - May 8th, 2006, their ninth straight win coming as part of a four game sweep of, and this may just be a little irony, the Chicago Cubs. The Padres have the right guy on the hill to continue the streak, 6'10" right hander Chris Young (3-2, 5.07), the Cubs will have left hander Ted Lilly (5-3, 3.35) who beat the Padres at Wrigley Field on May 13th.

No comments: