Expos at Padres Series Preview

<b>Montreal Expos (5-14) at San Diego Padres (10-9)</b> <br><br> Baseball's vagabonds come to town, perhaps without their bats as they are currently hitting .204 as a team. What has Frank Robinson done to deserve this?

Game One
RHP Jake Peavy (1-1, 1.54) and RHP Livan Hernandez (1-2, 3.04)

Peavy was terrific in his last outing against the Giants, throwing shutout baseball for 6 innings. Peavy would probably tell you that he wished he had gone deeper in the game and didn't give up as many walks, but that would be the only complaints.

Hernandez has put up more that respectable numbers against the Padres the last 3 seasons, posting a 6-1 record with a 3.46 ERA. He always seems to hit against the Padres as well.

Game Two
RHP Ismael Valdez (2-0, 3.77) and RHP John Patterson (1-1, 3.18)

Valdez has really taken it up a notch as the Padres 5th starter. He has actually been effective in his 2 starts, and the Padres won both.

Leave it to the D'backs to give away a good starter for Randy Choate, AKA a bag of baseballs. Patterson pitched very well in '02, scuffled in '03, but still has plenty of upside 2 years removed from Tommy John surgery.

Game Three
RHP Adam Eaton (1-1, 3.14) and RHP Claudio Vargas (1-1, 5.60)

Eaton was cruising along against the D'backs and then I jinxed him. I disapproved of walking Luis Gonzalez and said to my friend, "Here comes a 3-run homer." You can call it a coincidence, but I know the truth. Eaton should bounce back here.

Vargas is relatively hard throwing righty (90-94) with a tight curve and an okay change. The fastball is relatively straight, so the guys better get good wood on it when they get it, because his other stuff will keep the players off balance. He gives up a lot of walks, so the hitters need to show patience and make him come in with the fastball.

Game Four
LHP David Wells (0-2, 5.48) and RHP Tomo Ohka (0-4, 5.95)

Boomer was decent his last time out but was plagued by a lack of run support. Only Jose Vidro has had moderate success against him in limited at bats, and most of the Montreal lineup hasn't faced him.

Ohka has not found his stride yet this season, but he has pitched very well against the Padres in the past, going 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA. Ohka has a lot of tools in the box to keep hitters off balance (fastball, curve, change, splitter, and slider). He just hasn't been able to locate.

Hitters to Watch
Khalil Greene has handled himself with the bat better than anyone could have expected so far. He is hitting .306 overall and .326 against RHP. The Padres need to have him continue to hit with Burroughs being day to day with the ankle sprain.

With Bad Vlad playing in Orange County, Jose Vidro is the best hitter remaining on the club. A switch hitter with pop and good plate discipline, Vidro is a tough out.

Other Notes
Many fans have lost patience with the bullpen, especially Eddie Oropesa and Antonio Osuna. The good news is KT made it sound as if Oropesa is gone, saying on The Mighty 1090 if you don't have 2 left-handed relievers you may as well not have any because the one is overused. Somebody should tell Osuna that he no longer throws in the high 90s, because he keeps trying to blow the fastball by guys at 93 mph and it isn't working.

Kim Lewis can be reached at geckointhebox@yahoo.com

MadFriars Top Stories