The San Diego Padres have had the NL’s best bullpen for most of this season, but it’s been a different story since the All-Star break.
After overcoming another blown lead to snap a season high-tying losing streak, the Padres hope to work out their bullpen issues as they close a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.
San Diego relievers lead the NL in ERA, but they have allowed 34 earned runs in 41 innings since the break. Their 7.46 ERA in the second half has raised their season mark from 2.38 to 3.03.
The bullpen faltered in the late innings again on Tuesday, squandering a 3-0 lead by allowing three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez broke the tie with an RBI double in the eighth to help San Diego (54-45) snap a four-game skid with a 5-3 victory.
San Diego’s bullpen could face added pressure after the loss of starter Chris Young. Young, who leads the majors with a 1.82 ERA, retired all six batters he faced Tuesday but strained an abdominal muscle on a pitch in the second inning.
“I didn’t throw many more pitches after I first felt it,” Young said. “I didn’t feel it again until I went out to start the third. … I didn’t know the sensation I was feeling, so I called out the trainer.”
Padres manager Bud Black said Young might miss his scheduled start Sunday.
The Rockies (50-50) lost for the third time in four games as Kazuo Matsui continued to struggle at the plate. The second baseman is 4-for-35 (.114) since the All-Star break.
“The more Kaz and Willy (Taveras) get on, the more we go and can roll,” manager Clint Hurdle told the Rockies’ official Web site.
Aaron Cook (6-6, 4.37 ERA) will start for Colorado on Wednesday hoping to continue a string of solid outings. The right-handed sinkerballer has held opponents to four hits in each of his last two starts, including the Rockies’ 3-1 win at Washington on Friday. Cook pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out a career-high eight batters to earn the victory.
“I was able to mix in my pitches - both sides of the plate,” Cook said. “I had a pretty good breaking ball tonight. Usually, I keep attacking guys with my sinker over and over again. Tonight, I felt good enough to keep throwing my slider.”
Cook has beaten the Padres more than any other team in his six-year career, going 7-3 with a 2.76 ERA in 15 games, including 13 starts, against them. He has also held San Diego to two runs or fewer in each of their last eight meetings.
He’ll face Justin Germano (6-4, 3.77), making his first start against Colorado since he went 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA in three starts versus the Rockies in 2004.
Germano yielded four runs in 5 1-3 innings in a 7-3 defeat against Philadelphia on Friday, the fourth loss in five decisions for the right-hander after going 5-0 in his first seven starts.