In baseball, good pitching often trumps good hitting. Teams that make long post season runs generally have solid staffs that carry them through. The San Diego Padres are a team that is not going to win many slugfests. Through 21 games they may not average many runs, but their pitching is outstanding. While they do not have many household names, there rotation is built to help contend now and in the future.
Ace: Andrew Cashner
Although Andrew Cashner has missed time in his young career due to arm injuries, when healthy he can flat out pitch. A former first round pick of the Chicago Cubs, he has started in 38 career games posting a 3.18 ERA. Before giving up four runs to Milwaukee on April 21st, he had a string of eleven straight quality starts. By pounding the strike-zone with his blazing fastball that averages 95.7 mph, Cashner often relies on swings and misses. His 36 strikeouts currently rank eighth in the National League. Last year’s 26 starts were a career high. In order to become elite, he needs to surpass that number this season.
Yankee Great: Ian Kennedy
Another former first round pick of the New York Yankees, the 29 year old Ian Kennedy has become a key piece of the Padres rotation. While he never panned out for the Yankees, Kennedy has had several strong seasons. His best year was in 2011 when he won 21 games and finished fourth in the Cy Young voting with Arizona. In six starts this season, Kennedy has four quality starts and a 3.16 ERA. If he continues to pitch at his 2011 form, the Padres have a top flight number two starter.
The Steal: Tyson Ross
In a minor off-season deal last year, the Padres acquired the 27 year old Tyson Ross from the Oakland A’s. Although his straight up pitching style looks awkward, Ross gets the job down. In his time with the Padres the lanky right hander has been able to keep a low whip by attacking the strike-zone and keeping hitters off balance. His outstanding 3.17 Padre ERA is a great piece as a number three starter.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference