Padres, Peavy Struggling

The San Diego Padres haven't looked anything lately like a team challenging for a division title. Jake Peavy hasn't looked much like an ace, either.

Peavy and the struggling Padres hope to rebound from another lopsided loss Friday night when they continue a four-game series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

David Wells allowed seven runs in three innings, and the Padres managed only five hits in a 7-1 loss in Thursday's series opener.

It was the sixth loss in seven games for San Diego (54-47), which has been outscored 55-20 during that span, including 17-3 in the past two contests.

The Padres' lack of offense lately has only intensified their need for another productive bat. They are last in the NL in batting average (.241) and 14th in runs scored (416).

Adrian Gonzalez is second on the team with 15 homers and leads the club with 59 RBIs. Gonzalez, though, only has one home run since June 18 - a 32-game span.

Despite their struggles, the Padres are only two games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

Oddsmakers from have made San Diego -152 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 89% of bets for this game have been placed on San Diego -152 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

San Diego's normally reliable pitching staff has been hit hard lately, posting a 7.95 ERA in the last seven games.

Peavy (9-5, 2.47 ERA), the All-Star starter for the NL earlier this month, hasn't been immune to those troubles.

Although he ranks third in the NL in ERA, Peavy hasn't pitched nearly as well lately as he did in the first half of the season. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 4.73 ERA in his last three starts, and has lost four consecutive decisions since his last victory over Baltimore on June 19.

"It's just one of those things," Peavy said. "I just want to throw better myself, throw shutouts. I know I'm capable of doing it."

Peavy has surrendered three runs or more in five of his past six starts after doing so in only four of his first 14 outings. The right-hander matched a season high by allowing four runs and nine hits over six innings Sunday in a 9-0 loss to Philadelphia.

Peavy is 5-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 10 career starts against the Astros, with a 1.17 ERA in the last three.

Carlos Lee, Morgan Ensberg and Craig Biggio all homered off Wells, and Wandy Rodriguez pitched seven strong innings, as Houston (45-57) won its third straight.

While they have played better lately, the Astros likely have too large a deficit to overcome to reach the playoffs. They trail first-place Milwaukee by 11 games.

"It certainly seems like it's impossible," right fielder Lance Berkman said. "But we're going to keep playing hard and just see where it goes. We're certainly a better team than we've shown."

Biggio is 5-for-13 with two home runs and five RBIs in three games since announcing his intention to retire at the end of the season.

Houston's Woody Williams (5-11, 5.03) hopes to build on his best start of the season. The right-hander was outstanding in an 8-0 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, allowing five hits with no walks and three strikeouts. That ended a five-game road losing streak for Williams, who is 3-0 with a 4.10 ERA in his last four home starts.

Williams, who pitched for the Padres from 1999-2001 and again the past two seasons, will be starting against his former team for the fifth time. He has handled them very easily, going 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in those four starts.

San Diego's Mike Cameron is one of the few Padres that has hit Williams well, batting .333 (8-for-24) with three home runs.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

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