This year’s All-Star starter for the NL goes against one of the league’s most disappointing hurlers this season on Wednesday, when Penny tries to help the Dodgers halt a seven-game losing streak as they face Peavy and the Padres to close a three-game set.
While Penny (10-4, 3.23 ERA) leads Los Angeles in wins and is among the NL leaders in ERA, Peavy (4-10, 5.15) has the fewest wins of any San Diego pitcher with at least 12 starts and has the team’s second-worst ERA.
A year after Peavy made his first All-Star appearance, Penny made his All-Star debut earlier this month as he allowed one hit—a home run to Vladimir Guerrero—while striking out three in two innings.
Penny, though, has lost to St. Louis in both of his starts since that appearance. He was ripped for six runs and 10 hits in five innings of an 11-3 road loss on July 16, but was much better five days later against the Cardinals, pitching 6 2-3 solid innings in a 2-0 defeat.
“I threw the ball well and I felt better than I’ve felt in a long time,” said Penny, who is 3-3 with a 4.85 ERA and .298 opponent batting average over his last seven starts.
The right-hander did not get a decision in his only outing this season against the Padres, giving up three runs in six innings of a 5-3 loss on June 14. He’s 3-4 with a 4.99 ERA in 10 career starts against San Diego.
Like Penny, Peavy has lost his first two starts after the All-Star break, though he’s been significantly worse. Peavy has been tagged for seven runs and nine hits in each outing, also walking seven as he’s lasted just 10 innings.
The fifth-year right-hander is among the NL leaders with 128 strikeouts, but is 0-5 in eight outings since May 28.
“I’m going to make some good starts for us before it’s all said and done,” Peavy said. “I’ve got to. I’m running out of time.”
Maybe facing the Dodgers for the first time this year can get Peavy on track. He’s thrown 20 2-3 consecutive scoreless innings against them, and is 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA in his last five starts against Los Angeles. He’s 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 10 lifetime starts against the Dodgers.
Peavy looks to hand the Dodgers an eighth straight defeat. The team is mired in its worst losing streak since dropping eight straight from June 14-21, 2005.
Los Angeles has lost 12 of 13 since the All-Star break to fall 6 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Padres.
“Everybody’s pressing, trying to hit the three-run homer,” Dodgers catcher Toby Hall said. “You can’t try to do too much, but that’s what this team’s doing. When it rains, it pours—and it’s pouring right now.”
The Dodgers have totaled just 23 runs since the break, and won’t be helped by the absence of Nomar Garciaparra. The team’s leading hitter at .327, Garciaparra sat out Tuesday after spraining a ligament in his right knee in Monday’s 7-6 loss to San Diego. He’s expected to miss at least four more games.
Mike Cameron and Adrian Gonzalez have been the hottest hitters for the Padres. Cameron homered for the second straight game Tuesday, giving him five homers and nine RBIs in his last nine games. Gonzalez is riding a 16-game hitting streak, hitting .429 with seven homers and 20 RBIs.
The Padres have won three in a row, and are 7-3 this season against the Dodgers.