Colorado Rockies 72-87 at San Diego Padres 63-96

Well, this is it baseball fans, final weekend of the regular season. The Rockies and Padres will be packing up their gear after the series and watching the playoffs from home, just like us. Regardless of the records, it should be a very festive atmosphere in Mission Valley as these are the final three baseball games that will be played at San Diego/Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium.

Game One

RHP Adam Eaton (8-12, 4.24) and LHP Cory Vance (1-2, 6.33)

Eaton has lost 3 straight decisions. He has not been a whipping boy out there, but he has had lapses in concentration. Eaton will want to finish on a high note here. Unfortunately, he has been pressing in these types of situations and has not been able to attain success.

Vance was the 4th round pick out of Georgia Tech for the Rockies in 2000. He made his last start against the Padres on September 20th. He had 4 ER in 5 IP in the loss. He is starting in the place of Jason Jennings who has been shelved for the remainder of the season due to his being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms.

Game Two

LHP Mike Bynum (1-3, 8.27) and RHP Denny Stark (2-3, 6.07)

Bynum had his most effective appearance of the season his last time out. Yes, it was against the feeble sticks of the Dodgers, but he really had the nasty slider working. He did not allow a HR which is the only time this year he has not allowed one in a start. He barely escaped in the 5th inning as he started to get pounded.

With the Rockies staff looking like a MASH unit, Stark gets his 1st start since 8/30. He did pitch two innings of effective relief on September 20th in a Padre rout. Stark has not been effective as a starter this season with an ERA nearly 3 runs higher than his relief ERA.

Game Three

RHP Jake Peavy (12-11, 4.10) and LHP Darren Oliver (13-11, 4.91)

Peavy has been the Padres best starter since the break, posting 3.38 ERA over that period. If his July had not been horrendous, Peavy's numbers would be even better. Peavy has a 2.87 ERA in the months of August and September. Just remember Padre fans, Jake is only 22 and will not be 23 until May 31st, 2004.

Apparently the road purples get Darren Oliver down as he sports a 5.24 ERA on the road and a 4.50 ERA at Coors Field. Oliver's first loss of the year came at Qualcomm as he was pasted for 6 runs in 4.1 IP. His overall ERA in his outings against the Padres is 5.29 and he has walked more than he K'd in that time.

Hitters to Watch

Phil Nevin has 45 RBI in 56 games since returning to the lineup. Do you think we missed his bat this season? With apologies to Rondell White, we need Nevin's bat in the lineup every day; and with the scintillating play Nevin made in the 6th inning last night, he has further solidified his position as the team's first baseman in 2004.

Todd Helton just quietly goes about hitting .350 plus while playing Gold Glove caliber defense. To think this guy could have been wearing a Padre uniform had Tom Werner and Company had been better owners. Their ownership was worse than Roseanne Barr's version of the National Anthem, just plain awful.

Other Notes

This is my final series preview of the 2003 season. I must say, it has been fun. Let me know if there is something I can improve upon for next season. I am the happiest person in the whole world; I get to go to a baseball game on my birthday (9/26). When I was a kid, the season always ended right before. Now that MLB has added some open dates, I get to go to the yard, see the game, and The Chicken.

Fearless Prediction

See you in Petco! By the way, last one out be sure to turn off the lights.

Kim Lewis can be reached at geckointhebox@yahoo.com

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