Scouting Report - Pedro Astacio

The San Diego Padres turn to a most unlikely starter for Game Two of the NL Division Series. Astacio began the season with the Texas Rangers, before being released after posting a 2-8 record with a 6.04 ERA in 12 starts. The Padres purchased Astacio's contract from Triple-A Portland in July and the rest may be history.

At the beginning of the season the smart money would have been on Pedro Astacio being out of baseball by the playoffs.

At the age of 35, Astacio had shoulder problems that dated back to the 2001 and 2002 seasons that led to shoulder surgery in 2003. In the summer of 2004, Pedro came back and pitched a grand total of 26.2 innings in the minors with the Boston Red Sox.

Out of the majors basically for the past two seasons, it was considered almost impossible for Astacio to come back at his age to be an effective starter at the major league level.

When healthy, which hasn't been very often over the past five years, Pedro, the 6'2" 210 pound right handed starter, has a good sinking fastball in the low 90's and a curve and decent changeup.

Astacio's numbers for 2005 on the surface won't scare you. He's 4-6 with a 4.69 ERA for the season, but if you take a look at his last 10 outings, it gives you a different picture.

Over his last 10 games dating back to July 17, he's 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA. Breaking that down to how well he's performed in September, leading up to the playoffs, Astacio is 2-0 in three starts with a 1.89 ERA in the final month of the season.

When Astacio takes the mound on Thursday, he'll be making his first start and fifth appearance in a division series. He appeared in three games for the Dodgers in 1995 and one game for the Dodgers in 1996. His totals? A perfect, 0-0 with an 0.00 ERA. In four games he's pitched a total of five innings, giving up just one hit, while striking out six and walking none.

Astacio has had problems with his right quadriceps. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quad on August 29, 2005 and just activated off the DL on September 13. As noted above, since his return, he has been very effective.

The Padres will need Astacio to pick up a win Thursday or their hopes to advance past the Cardinals will be all but gone. The Padres lost their staff ace Jake Peavy, who struggled through 4 1/3 innings in San Diego's 8-5 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday, giving up eight runs and fracturing at least one rib during his outing.

Peavy will miss the rest of the playoffs adding pressure for Astacio to step up and fill the void and role of a staff ace. A long way from Portland.

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