Eric Stults, Joe Saunders Face Off on Differing Trajectories

By Thomas Emerick
Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night’s starting pitcher matchup between the San Diego Padres‘ Eric Stults and Seattle Mariners‘ Joe Saunders had a number of recent trends pointing in San Diego’s favor heading into the contest.

The Padres’ left-hander struggled out the gate to a 5.67 ERA in the month of April but had roughly halved that in May. Meanwhile, Saunders had not won a start since early May and was recently hit around by the Texas Rangers. However perhaps most foreboding, was that Saunders owned a 0-4 road record with an 11.25 ERA in such starts.

The differing trajectories end up only mattering for Stults in this one, as both starters threw one-run gems before getting no decision as Will Venable came off the bench to end it in the 10th inning. However, Stults can walk away smiling from this one as his hot streak continues after striking out 12 batters, becoming the first Padres pitcher to do so since Jake Peavy in 2009.

“He’s pitched some very good games for us … but I don’t know how you throw any better than that,” Padres manager Bud Black said, via “That’s impressive.”

The Mariners’ manager might have been even more impressed, especially when you throw in the zero walks.

“That kid was funky, like something we haven’t seen this year the way he was throwing the ball,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “The big slow breaking ball, then he had great arm action on the changeup that would just kind of die against right-handed hitters. And then he kept you honest with a fastball at about 90, which looked about 100 compared to the other two pitches. He did a good job.”

This marked the third win in five starts for Stults.

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