The Case For and Against Matthews

Mike Matthews will either be a San Diego Padre by this weekend or not at all. The Friars recently signed Kevin Walker and that could mean the official end of Matthews as a Padre. There is a case to be made for Matthews' return, despite numbers that indicate he was not on top of his game in 2003.

Mike Matthews was claimed off waivers from Milwaukee on March 26.

His longest relief outing of the season was three innings, occurring in May against Florida so he is clearly not a long relief candidate.

The case for Matthews:

What he did do was lead the team in appearances with 76, tied for 12th most among NL relievers. His 76 relief appearances are the most by a Padre since Greg Harris appeared in 73 games in 1990.

At home, Matthews had a commanding 2.05 ERA in a pitcher friendly park and opponents hit just .219 off him at Qualcomm.

Matthews' team-leading 16 holds ranks tied him for 16th in the National League in that category.

He worked shutout ball in 56 of his 76 appearances this season. Matthews retired the first man he faced 46 times. Of the 71 runners he inherited on the season, just 19 scored.

The case against Matthews:

Matthews held opposing batters to a .270 batting average and .349 on base percentage. Right-handers hit .254 off him, going 35-for-138 with two homer runs and lefties hit an incredible .290, 29-for-100, also with two homers.

He went 0-3 in save opportunities.

He walked 29 batters in 64.2 innings pitched, which put him on pace to walk four batters per nine innings pitched. His WHIP was an uninspiring 1.45. Matthews' strikeout to walk ratio was just 1.52.

His ERA in away games was 6.62 and rumblings are the move to Petco will be hitter friendly. Opponents scorched him for a .311 batting average in away games.

The meat of the order, the #4 and #5 hitters batted over .400 against Matthews and had an OBP of .500!

The result:

A healthy Kevin Walker should be able to easily match the numbers Matthews put up. He may not reach the appearances mark, but Walker had 19 holds as a rookie in 2000. Kevin Towers has faith in him and also hopes he "pitches as he did when he was a rookie."

Walker, in his career, is allowing a .209 batting average against him. His main question mark is if he can stay healthy. He has missed parts of the last three seasons.

With that in mind, Matthews will not be offered arbitration, nor will he be back.


Have a question for me to ask Jim Callis of Baseball America regarding our prospects? Post a reply to the following thread: By Clicking Here

If you have problems accessing the board or want to email me the questions, go ahead! I will post other opportunities for questions to be answered on that board, including an interview with Jake Peavy.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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