San Diego (28-31) at Los Angeles (29-29)

  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Jun 12, 2009
  • TV: Ch4, FSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Matt Palmer’s(notes) career began in the NL, but after spending most of that time in the minors, he seems to have found his place in the AL with the Los Angeles Angels.

Palmer will return to the Angels rotation Friday when they open a three-game series at home against the San Diego Padres.

Kelvim Escobar(notes) was originally scheduled to pitch the beginning of this interleague set, but after one start, Los Angeles (29-29) has decided to move him into the bullpen due to a lack of stamina in his surgically repaired throwing shoulder. Escobar went 18-7 for the Angels in 2007 before missing all of 2008.

The move means Palmer (5-0, 4.06 ERA) will resume his spot in the rotation. The 30-year-old right-hander, who was called up in late April, pitched seven scoreless innings against Seattle on May 30 in his last start. The Angels are 6-1 in his seven outings this season.

Palmer made his major league debut last season with San Francisco, which drafted him in the 31st round in 2002. While he’s been excellent for the Angels, manager Mike Scioscia would clearly have preferred to send Escobar to the mound.

“There’s a fragile balance now with our rotation,” he told the Angels’ official Web site. “There’s a lot of confidence in Matty. Kelvim has shown he’s a difference-maker.

“We don’t have any other options now. … We’re certainly down to our limit as far as depth in starting pitching. I don’t think this is by any means a plus move. It’s a move we have to make.”

Scioscia has other problems to deal with after his team suffered its fourth loss in five games Thursday, 11-1 to Tampa Bay. The Angels, who dropped two of three in the series, had four hits and struck out 12 times.

“We need to play with consistency,” said Scioscia, who held a postgame team meeting. “If the guys in that room are not going to do it, then we’re going to have to look for some changes.”

The Padres (28-31) have won three of five after a four-game losing streak. They split a two-game set with the Dodgers this week, winning 3-1 on Wednesday.

Chad Gaudin(notes) (2-4, 5.01) will take the mound for San Diego, facing a team he spent more than two years pitching against on a regular basis.

Gaudin played two-plus years with Oakland, the Angels’ AL West rival. He is 3-2 with a 4.44 ERA in seven starts and 10 relief appearances against Los Angeles, going 1-1 with a 6.41 ERA in four starts at Angel Stadium.

The right-hander made a two-inning relief appearance in an 18-inning loss to Arizona on Sunday. In his last start, he pitched five innings against the Diamondbacks on Friday, allowing five runs in an 8-0 defeat.

Padres manager Bud Black was a pitching coach for the Angels from 2000-06 under Scioscia. This is his first time back in Anaheim.

“It’s going to be fun,” Black told the Padres’ official Web site. “It’s a great park. I know a lot of people at the stadium and I’m obviously familiar with the coaching staff. And I know a lot of the players so it’s going to be fun.”

San Diego is 11-8 against the Angels, including 7-4 in Anaheim.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Gaudin LAD vs. M. Palmer SEA
6-10 Record 11-2
4.64 ERA 3.93
139 K 69
76 BB 55
1.51 WHIP 1.32


Friday, Jun 12