Brad Penny was an All-Star this year but he hasn’t pitched like one since the break. He owns a 5.81 ERA over 12 second-half starts, and opponents are hitting .305 against the power right-hander. Penny has struggled against the Padres this year, sporting a 9.00 ERA in 15 innings against them. That said, he’s won 16 games so he must be doing something right.
For the Pads, Jake Peavy has a 3.77 ERA in the second half of the season. Perhaps more importantly, he’s cut his homers way down, allowing just 7 in 76 1/3 innings. His run support still isn’t the greatest (his 5-6 record since the All-Star break is worse than Penny’s despite having an ERA that is lower by two full points), but at least he’s a lot closer to “vintage Peavy” than what we saw earlier in the year.
Padres have taken two out of the first three at Chavez Ravine to reclaim the NL West lead. Worst case, they leave LA with a split and just a half game back in the division. But nobody is thinking about a split right now.
Wild card is a nice Plan B, but the division is the real prize. Time to go get it. As we like to say around here, winning starts with beginning.