June 2011

Best First Pitch Ever

A performer from KÀ by Cirque Du Soleil delivered the first pitch prior to Monday’s game. Nice flinch by Clayton Richard.

Who has had the best June?

Despite some early struggles, the Padres have heated up and are posting a strong finish to the month of June. The late surge has been buoyed by some solid performances over the month.

Sweep Dreams

The Padres are looking to complete the three-game sweep over KC with a win this afternoon. A win would be their sixth straight over the Royals, keeping their American League opponent winless at PETCO Park (including a three-game sweep in 2004).

San Diego has already clinched its third consecutive series victory, having won two of three in Boston and home against the Braves. Tim Stauffer looks to continue his trend of solid starts, taking the mound today with a 0.93 ERA (3 ER/29.0 IP) over his last four outings. Here is a closer look at Stauffers starts since June 7:

6/7 vs. COL – 8.0 IP, 0 R, 8 K

6/12 vs. WSH – 7.0 IP, 0 R, 5 K

6/18 at MIN – 7.0 IP, 1 R, 5 K

6/24 vs. ATL – 7.0 IP, 2 R, 9 K

Lineup 6/29 vs. KC

Lineup 6/28 vs. KC

6/27 Lineup vs. KC

Strong start for Spangenberg

It seems like just yesterday the Padres scouting staff sat in the Draft room anxiously awaiting their first selection with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. While it may not have been yesterday, it was only three weeks ago and already the Friars’ top pick is making an impact in the minors.

Signed just three days after he was drafted (and still the highest pick from this year’s draft to sign), Cory Spangenberg has already played 10 games with the Eugene Emeralds and is hitting .394 with a .563 OBP and .606 SLG (1.169 OPS). He is averaging at least one hit, RBI and walk per game and has two hits in each of the last five tilts.

All of Cory’s appearances have come at second base and while it’s still way to soon to make any projections as to what type of player he may become, it certainly is nice to have in on the field and produces early results.

Royal welcome

The Royals are in town for a three-game set that concludes Interleague Play in San Diego this season (The Padres still have three games in Seattle). Fresh off their second straight series win, the Padres look to keep rolling against the Royals who have yet to win a game at PETCO Park. In their only visit to San Diego, Kansas City was swept in a three-game set in July of 2004. In that series, the Padres outscored the Royals 19-10 and outhit them 33-16.

Entering tonight’s game, the Padres have played just six games against the Royals in franchise history, tying with the White Sox and Tigers for the fewest matchups against any opponent.

Here is the projected rotation for the Interleague series:

RHP Mat Latos vs. LHP Jeff Francis

LHP Clayton Richard vs. RHP Felipe Paulino

RHP Tim Stauffer vs. LHP Bruce Chen

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In tonight’s matchup, Latos takes on a familiar face in former Rocky Jeff Francis. Over his six seasons in the National League West, Francis faced the Padres 21 times (all starts) and is 5-12 with a 5.66 ERA against the Friars. In fact, the Padres have a .295 all-time batting average against Francis, who has not registered a win against San Diego since 2007.

For the win…

Cory Luebke takes this hill this afternoon in his first start of 2011. He is looking to help the Pads take two of three from the Braves and clinch the season series in the final matchup against Atlanta.

In Luebke’s last outing, he worked 3.1 innings of relief in Boston, earning a chance in the starting rotation. In 2010, Luebke made three starts in four appearances. As a starter, he went 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA (8 ER/15.2 IP). Since being selected by the Padres as the 63rd overall pick in the 2007 Draft, Luebke has made 84 minor league appearances, 74 as a starter. In his 19 minor league games (17 starts) during the 2010 campaign, he went 10-1 with a 2.68 ERA (34 ER/114.0 IP) between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Portland before earning a promotion to the Majors.

Fresh faces

Reliever Josh Spence made his Major League debut last night, working a perfect ninth in the Padres 11-2 win over the Braves. The outing made Spence the seventh player to make his Big League debut with the Friars this season, joining Cedric Hunter, Blake Tekotte, Logan Forsythe, Anthony Rizzo, Anthony Bass and Evan Scribner.

Here is video of Spence striking out Jason Heyward, his first Major League batter faced: http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=16252123

Tonight the Padres take on the Braves in the second of a three-game series. The game marks the eighth of nine tilts between the two clubs this season, with the Padres holding a 4-3 edge so far. A win tonight would clinch the season series against Atlanta for the first time since going 5-1 in 2005.

Dustin Moseley takes the hill tonight, looking for his third win of the season. Over his last five starts, he has gone 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA (8 ER/30.1 IP). Moseley will be facing the Braves for the second time this season.