FriarBall: 2008 Previews: Starting Pitching

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

2008 Previews: Starting Pitching

It's no secret by now that the Padres have one of the best, if not the best, 1-2 combos in the majors when it comes to starters. Jake Peavy and Chris Young got off to an amazing start and if it wasn't for a pesky injury after the All Star break, Young may have been a stronger Cy Young candidate.

With Greg Maddux coming back we have a solid enough No. 3 starter that he should guarantee us at least 10 wins once again, despite the fact that Maddux is clearly not the pitcher he was. However, his years of experience have made it possible for him to remain effective.

Any fan worth his weight knows the biggest question for the Padres is who will fill the last two spots in the rotation. Low budget signings Randy Wolf and Mark Prior should be adequate to fill the roles if they can remain healthy, but that's the $64,000 question this season.

Both Wolf and Prior tend to be fly ball pitchers and their home run to fly ball ratios should see the most improvement because of their new surroundings. Should the need arise, both Justin Germano (last year's No. 5 starter) and Clay Hensley headline a list of youngsters who will be itching for another chance to earn a full-time rotation gig.

It remains to be seen how effective Germano really can be - is he more of the pitcher we saw in the first half (only 1 loss), or is he closer to the guy we saw struggle in the second half? A similar questions could be asked of Hensley, but he too is also trying to battle back from injury.

Regardless of who fills the last two spots, someone is going to have to step up in a big way.

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