There were a couple questions that needed to be answered this spring as far as the San Diego Padres starting rotation was concerned for 2013. Who would be the opening day starter and who would be the Padres fifth starter this season?
Both questions were answered this past week when Padres manager Bud Black announced that Edinson Volquez would make his second consecutive opening day start for the Friars and Tyson Ross would be the man to fill the fifth spot for San Diego at the end of the rotation.
Volquez will draw the start April 1 against the New York Mets at Citi Field on Monday April 1. In 2012 Volquez was 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA while leading the National League in walks allowed with 105. This spring Volquez was 1-0 with an ERA of 7.00 in nine innings pitched. The Padres are hoping he can be the ace this year and cut down on the base on balls allowed that plagued him last year.
Clayton Richard will be the Padres number two starter in the rotation for the upcoming season. Last year, Richard lead the National League in games started with 33 but also allowed the most hits (228) as well. The left-hander went 14-14 with a 3.99 ERA in 2012 and has put three consecutive respectable seasons together for the Padres since coming to San Diego as part of the Jake Peavy trade to the Chicago White Sox. This spring, many thought that Richard would be the favorite to start opening day. However, the 29-year-old posted a 5.30 ERA and allowed more hits than innings pitched this spring (21 hits in 18 2/3 innings). The hope is that Richard can put up similar inning totals that he has two of the past three years while adding a few more wins in 2013.
Eric Stults will man the middle of the rotation for the Padres. Claimed on waivers from the White Sox in May of last year, Stults posted an 8-3 record in 14 starts in 2012. The left-hander’s 2.92 ERA and 1.181 WHIP last year was more than solid and a pleasant surprise to the Padres brass. This spring, Stults has not been able to replicate last year’s numbers. He went 2-2 with a 6.63 ERA in the preseason in 19 innings, allowing more hits than innings pitched (22 to 19). The Padres are hoping that this spring is just an aberration and that 2012 was not.
Jason Marquis will man the fourth spot in the rotation to begin the season and the second of two pitchers the Padres signed off waivers last year and now are in the starting rotation for 2013. The right-hander had posted excellent numbers this spring until Saturday’s disastrous start against the Texas Rangers at the Alamodome. The 33-year-old had a solid 2.00 ERA in five starts and 18 innings pitched so far this spring. However, on Saturday he gave up five earned runs and walking six in 3 and 2/3 innings. Last year, Marquis went 6-7 with a 4.04 ERA with San Diego after being released by the Minnesota Twins. The hope is that Marquis can offer the Friars a solid end of the rotation veteran.
Ross earned the spot for the fifth and final rotation spot to start the 2013 campaign. Ross had an excellent spring going 3-2 with a solid 2.57 ERA in four starts this spring. This has given the Padres hope that he has ditched the control issues that plagued him during his time with the Oakland Athletics. Last year with Oakland, Ross went 2-11 with an ERA of 6.50 in 13 starts before mercifully being taken out of the rotation. Traded to the Padres this offseason, Ross worked hard and showed Black enough to earn himself a spot in the rotation to begin the season.
The Padres do have young prospects Andrew Cashner and Anthony Bass in the bullpen to begin the season and either could make a spot start if need be. However, the flamethrower Cashner is on an innings limit this year of about 130 to 150 innings so it is unclear if or for how long he would take a regular role in the rotation.