After being knocked out of the division series in each of the last two years, the San Diego Padres spent the offseason searching for a proven veteran to get them deeper in the playoffs. They think 333-game winner Greg Maddux can do that.
Maddux will make his Padres debut Friday night when they open their home schedule at Petco Park against the Colorado Rockies.
Playing with his third club since July, Maddux—who turns 41 on April 14— signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Padres (2-1) in December. He won his first five starts with the Chicago Cubs last year, but slumped to 9-11 with a 4.69 ERA in 22 starts before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31.
Four days later, he made his debut with his new team by allowing just three walks in six innings of a 3-0 win over the Reds. The four-time NL Cy Young Award winner was 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 12 starts to get Los Angeles in the playoffs, but he struggled in Game 3 of the NL division series and the Dodgers were swept by the Mets following a 9-5 loss.
Maddux said he’s excited about being a member of the Padres (2-1).
“I’ve been very comfortable since day one here,” said Maddux, who’s also won 16 Gold Gloves. “The guys have all been great to deal with. They’ve treated me better than I’ve deserved to be treated.”
The right-hander won both his starts against Colorado (2-1) last season and is 12-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 21 career starts against them.
With Maddux on the mound, the Padres look to bounce back from a 5-3 loss to San Francisco on Thursday. With the score tied at 1, a collision on a pop fly between rookie third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and shortstop Khalil Greene occured during a four-run fifth that broke open the game.
“You still have to remember it’s early in the season,” Greene said. “There are some things you need to get used to - one of those being the range of the guy over there and what he does on certain plays.”
San Diego is looking for its sixth straight home win over Colorado, which will send its top pitching acquisition to the mound.
“I think I’m more excited about facing Greg Maddux than I am about facing their lineup,” Hirsh said. “That’s kind of a once-in-a lifetime thing, to pitch against a future Hall of Famer.”
Hirsh, a right-hander, was 3-4 with a 6.04 ERA in nine starts for the Astros. He took the loss in his major league debut against San Diego on Aug. 12, allowing four runs and seven hits over four innings of a 6-3 defeat.
Colorado will be looking for its third win in a row after routing Arizona 11-4 on Wednesday. Matt Holliday, was 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs. He is 4-for-12 with a home run and three RBIs against Maddux. Garrett Atkins had two hits and scored twice, and is 5-for-9 with two solo homers versus Maddux.
Colorado was 10-9 against San Diego last year.