Padres at Yankees Preview

The San Diego Padres head to the Bronx, not to visit the zoo out there, they have enough of that at home. Instead their focus is on the red-hot New York Yankees. The Friars still have dreams of a 3-3 trip through Boston and New York, but that would mean taking two of three in Yankee Stadium. Luckily, David Wells anchors the finale in what will be his return to the scene and he knows Yankee Stadium better than most.

Game One
RHP Adam Eaton (2-6, 5.65) and RHP Mike Mussina (7-4, 4.59)

Eaton pitched well in his last outing, but still needs to work on pitch selection to minimize mistakes to good hitters. The Yankees lineup is filled with power bats. Sheffield has seen him the most with decent success.

After a rugged start, Mussina has returned to form and won his last 6 starts. It helps that the Yankees have started to hit because even when Moose is not on his game he gets enough run support to pull it out. He does not throw as hard as he used to but will get into the low 90s on occasion; he also throws a cutter, change, and even a splitty. However, his bread and butter pitch is still the knuckle-curve.

Game Two
RHP Dennis Tankersley (0-2, 2.35) and RHP Jon Lieber (4-3, 5.01)

Tank was pushed back from his Thursday start to pitch in Yankee Stadium on a Saturday. I do not envy him in the least. He will want to avoid Gary Sheffield; in 4 ABs he has homered twice off Tank. The key for Tank is composure and keeping that adrenaline in check, when he fails to do that he can walk the ballpark.

Lieber is a lot like BLaw in that he relies on his slider and command not overpowering stuff to get guys out. Ryan Klesko is probably chomping at the bit to come off the DL and face Lieber. Ryno has hit .429 in 35 ABs with 4 homers and 13 RBIs off a pre-surgery Lieber.

Game Three
LHP David Wells (2-4, 3.40) and RHP Javier Vazquez (7-4, 3.54)

Boomer came off the DL pitching like he had not missed a start. His curve had more break than I had seen all season and he was very sharp. He gave up 2 hits in each of the first 2 innings to the Red Sox but did not allow a run to score. A-Rod has pounded Boomer in the past (.358, 7 HR, 17 RBI in 53 ABs).

Vazquez has been devastating to Padres hitters. Against San Diego over the last 3 seasons he 1-1 with a 1.10 ERA and a batting average against of .136. The Padres better offer Jobu rum and a cigar because the bats are very afraid. Please, do not cut the head off a live chicken; the Padres have enough problems with PETA.

Hitters to Watch

Brian Giles is a professional hitter that has had success against Lieber and Mussina, and struggled a bit with Vazquez (big surprise). Giles will be the key.

Former Padre Gary Sheffield still has one of the quickest bats in baseball and typically feasts on Padres pitching. The only one of the fire sale trades that really worked out for San Diego, as the Padres got some guy named Hoffman for him.

Other Notes

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Ryan Klesko would like to be activated for this series. However, Kevin Towers has all but nixed that by saying he likely will not play until Tuesday. Hey KT, that DH thing might help Ryno get his timing up to snuff for the home stand. Just a thought.

The Kansas City Star reports a rumor that the Padres would trade Sean Burroughs, Xavier Nady, and another player (perhaps Terrence Long) for Joe Randa and Carlos Beltran. With Beltran saying he wants to test the free agent market, KT would be stupid to give away players for a guy you have ZERO chance of re-signing.

Tim Stauffer, the Padres first round pick in 2003 has been tearing it up. He dominated high A ball at Lake Elsinore and now is doing the same with AA Mobile (3-1, 1.71).

Kim Lewis can be reached at

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