By Spencer Impellizzeri @Spence_I on April 20, 2014
San Diego is off to a 9-9 start and the pitching staff is to thank for a lot of those wins. The Padres have acquired some new pieces to the staff, trading for Ian Kennedy last season and bringing in Alex Torres and Joaquin Benoit this offseason. The moves seem to be working, as the staff as a whole has solid numbers. One name to watch moving forward will be Josh Johnson, who was signed as a free agent, but has yet to pitch due to an injury.
Andrew Cashner has developed into the ace of the Padres staff. So far on the year, he is 2-1 with a 1.27 ERA in four starts. Batters are hitting just .184 against him and he has struck out 27 batters while only yielding eight walks. Cashner has lasted at least six innings in every start, throwing a complete Game 1 hitter against Detroit. In his lone loss, Cashner allowed just two runs over six innings pitched as the Padres were shut out.
Ian Kennedy has pitched well this season. He has a 1-3 record and a 4.13 ERA in four starts, but the record is not an indicator of how he pitched. In all three of Kennedy's losses, the Padres have scored 2 or fewer runs. Kennedy has walked just five batters and struck out 23, and if he can get some run support and lower his ERA, Kennedy could see his numbers improve dramatically.
Tyson Ross has turned it on in his last two starts, allowing just one run over his last 15 innings pitched. Ross struggled early, picking up two losses in his first two starts, but has improved his record to 2-2. Ross has a solid 2.13 ERA and batters are hitting .217 against him, but he has also allowed 11 walks. Ross looks to be headed in the right direction as the season progresses.
Eric Stults has been his own worst enemy this year. Stults is 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA this season and his poor numbers can be attributed to the fact that he has allowed a home run in each of his four starts. He has also struggled to go deep in games, going six innings just once. Stults had his best start in his most recent, allowing just one run over six innings, so he is showing signs of improvement.
Robbie Erlin is in his second year in the big leagues and has had an up and down start to the season. Erlin went six innings, allowing just one run in his first start but followed that up by giving up 3 runs in 4.2 innings in his second start. Erlin has done well to limit his walks, allowing just one in his first two starts. Erlin allowed four runs in the first three innings in his third start, but Erlin has the stuff to post some solid numbers.
The Bullpen has been great for the Padres. Dale Thayer is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 10 appearances and Nick Vincent has a 1.17 ERA in nine appearances. Huston Street is a perfect six for six in save opportunities with a 1.29 ERA and new acquisitions Alex Torres and Joaquin Benoit have 1.50 and 2.70 ERAs respectively. Tim Stauffer and Donn Roach both have ERAs over 3.50, but the pen as a whole is in good shape so far.
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