Brewers-Padres Preview

The Associated Press

Aside from struggling against one NL Central rival, the Milwaukee Brewers' Yovani Gallardo has been superb against every other club he's faced since the second half last season.

The San Diego Padres know just how dominant Gallardo can be.

Gallardo looks to remain perfect at Petco Park as the Brewers conclude a three-game set with the Padres, who send veteran Jeff Suppan to the hill Wednesday in place of the injured Cory Luebke.

Gallardo dropped to 1-2 and saw his ERA balloon to 6.08 after yielding eight runs over two-plus innings of Friday's 13-1 loss at St. Louis. Gallardo has a 7.06 career ERA against the Cardinals, his highest career mark against any opponent he's faced more than once.

"I've been feeling good," Gallardo told "I've been throwing the ball good. Then you have a game like this. It's very frustrating. It (stinks). Obviously, I know it keeps getting old, but there's not much you can do now. You have to prepare for the next one and work on the things I need to work on."

In his last 21 starts including the postseason since July 19, Gallardo has given up more than two earned runs six times - all against St. Louis. In those other 15 outings, the right-hander has gone 9-1 with a 1.45 ERA while striking out 120 over 105 1-3 frames.

Gallardo has also been excellent in winning both career starts at San Diego (8-17), where he's allowed a combined three runs and fanned 20 over 13 innings. He's 0-1 with a 9.72 ERA in two home starts versus the Padres, however.

Orlando Hudson is 3 for 14 lifetime against Gallardo and Cameron Maybin is 1 for 6.

While this game originally set up as an enticing pitching duel between Gallardo and Luebke, the left-hander will miss at least one start due to soreness in his throwing elbow. He isn't expected to go on the disabled list.

"We're going to push Cory back a few days. We're being a little cautious," manager Bud Black said. "He's feeling much better. We are feeling confident that this will be just one start."

The Padres instead turn to Suppan, who will make his first big league start since Oct. 3, 2010. The 37-year-old right-hander signed a minor league deal with San Diego prior to spring training.

After dealing with a strained right triceps, Suppan most recently compiled a 12.15 ERA over two starts spanning 6 2-3 innings with Triple-A Tucson.

"I've always been the type of pitcher who goes pitch to pitch," said Suppan, who spent last season with Kansas City's Triple-A affiliate. "I got up to 65 (pitches in Tucson) and I feel good, my injury feels good."

Suppan, who spent three-plus seasons with the Brewers from 2007-10, is 12-2 with a 3.32 ERA lifetime against Milwaukee (11-13) - his best career mark against any opponent.

Suppan faces a Brewers team that failed to get anything going during Tuesday's 2-0 loss. Shaun Marcum threw seven scoreless innings before Francisco Rodriguez served up a two-run homer to pinch hitter Mark Kotsay in the eighth.

"It feels good to come through in that situation for the ballclub," said Kotsay, who spent 2011 with the Brewers. "It gave us a lift and a chance to win the series."

Milwaukee, which took Monday's series opener 8-3 behind Ryan Braun's three homers, could be without first baseman Mat Gamel after he left in the first inning Tuesday with a right knee injury.