The San Diego Padres already had the league’s worst offense—and baseball’s worst record.
Now they have an injured ace, too.
Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy will miss his scheduled start on Monday due to right elbow soreness, as the Padres begin a three-game set against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals hoping they won’t be without him for long.
After winning the NL pitching triple crown last year, Peavy has suffered from discomfort in his throwing elbow. Padres manager Bud Black said it’s time for the team to “take a step back” and evaluate Peavy, who’ll have an MRI Monday.
“It’s not like a normal soreness. That’s obviously the reason we’re missing the start is because it’s not normal,” Peavy said. “Your arm is sore all the time, but I do feel some of it in the elbow (and) that’s always a cause for concern. We don’t know how big, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.”
Wilfredo Ledezma will emerge from the bullpen to make a spot start. Ledezma (0-0, 2.63 ERA) has made just two starts since 2006 and only one this season, allowing one unearned run on just two hits in four innings at Atlanta in a 5-4 loss on May 8.
The left-hander has made nine appearances this year, but hasn’t pitched in a victory for San Diego. Wins have been rare for the Padres (16-29) in 2008, and they dropped their last two games in Seattle over the weekend, including Sunday’s 3-2 defeat.
They are last in the majors with just 150 runs, and 29th in baseball with a .236 team batting average. A pair of two-run home runs by Adrian Gonzalez have accounted for all of their offense in their last two games.
The Padres are hoping the start of a 10-game homestand will help them. They’ve played 16 of their last 19 on the road, with a home set against Colorado the only series they’ve won over that span. After winning eight of their first 14, they’ve now won just eight of their last 31.
They’ll face a St. Louis club that ended a tough stretch of its own with a pair of walk-off wins over the weekend against Tampa Bay.
The Cardinals (26-20) had dropped eight of 10 before the victories, but Ryan Ludwick’s 10th-inning home run gave them a 9-8 win Saturday before Skip Schumaker’s ninth-inning RBI double capped a 5-4 victory Sunday.
“It’s a good sign of our toughness,” manager Tony La Russa told his team’s official Web site.
Ludwick now has three home runs in the last two games for St. Louis, which drew 10 walks Sunday, and leads the majors with 220 free passes. The Cardinals continue to play without outfielder Rick Ankiel, who has missed the last two contests with a shoulder injury.
Todd Wellemeyer will pitch for the Cardinals. Wellemeyer (4-1, 3.27) has allowed just three earned runs in 18 innings in his last three starts, and is coming off perhaps his best start of the season.
The right-hander gave up just two singles and one run in seven-plus innings against Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
“The first three innings, I was really just trying to get through,” Wellemeyer said. “Really battling. And then I finally got loose out there. I started letting go a little bit and got a rhythm going. I didn’t really change anything.”
St. Louis and San Diego have not met this season. The Cardinals won four of seven matchups in 2007.