Cy Young Award winners are expected to be at their best at the most important time of the season. Though he’s yet to win one, San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy has certainly fit that description lately.
Peavy looks to win his seventh straight decision and help the Padres keep their slim hold on first place in the NL West as they continue a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night.
Peavy (15-5, 2.18 ERA) is among the leading candidates for the NL Cy Young heading into the final month of the season. He leads the majors in ERA, is tied for the NL lead in wins and tops the NL in strikeouts - all while pitching for a team seeking its third straight division title.
The right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his last seven starts. During that span, he has allowed only 26 hits in 46 2-3 innings while walking 16 and striking out 61.
Peavy matched his career high in wins with a brilliant performance Monday in a 3-1 victory over Arizona, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings. He walked three and struck out 11 for the third straight start, becoming the Padres’ career leader in strikeouts.
The Dodgers haven’t posed much of a problem for Peavy, who is 7-1 with a 2.44 ERA in 16 starts against them, winning his last five decisions. He is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in three outings against Los Angeles this year.
Peavy may be throwing to a different catcher Saturday with Michael Barrett expected to be activated from the disabled list when rosters expand. Barrett hasn’t appeared in a game for the Padres since Aug. 10, missing the last three weeks with concussion-like symptoms.
“My concentration level is back up to 100 percent, which is important,” Barrett told the Padres’ official Web site. “It’s important to understand that there was a time it wasn’t and now that it’s back to where it is, now I can play. I know I’m good to go.”
The Padres defeated the Dodgers 6-4 on Friday. That combined with Arizona’s 7-3 loss in 10 innings to Colorado moved San Diego (74-60) one percentage point ahead of the Diamondbacks in the NL West. San Diego also has played two fewer games than Arizona.
San Diego also has won six of seven overall against the Dodgers, and 11 of the last 14 meetings at Petco Park.
Los Angeles (70-64) had its four-game winning streak snapped, and dropped four games behind Arizona in the wild card standings.
Derek Lowe (11-11, 3.56) looks to win his season-best fourth straight start. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 3.15 ERA in his last three starts after losing his five previous decisions.
Lowe evened his record with a 5-4 victory over Washington on Monday despite giving up a season-high three homers. He allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out five and walked one.
“I wasn’t very good,” Lowe said. “The offense picked me up. At this point in the season, it doesn’t really matter how you win. We need a lot of wins.”
Lowe is 3-2 with a 2.53 ERA in 11 career starts against the Padres, including 1-0 with a 3.14 ERA in two outings this season. He is 0-2 in five starts at Petco Park despite a 2.20 ERA.
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