Peavy Perfection

Jake Peavy looks to win a fifth straight start for the first time in his career when he leads the San Diego Padres against former teammate Woody Williams and the Houston Astros on Friday night to open a three-game set.

Peavy (13-5, 2.23 ERA) had a team- and career-worst 14 losses last season, and his 4.09 ERA marked the first time since 2003 that it wasn't below 3.00. Williams (6-12, 5.09 ERA), meanwhile, had a 12-5 record and a 3.65 ERA to help San Diego compensate for Peavy's off year.

But while Williams is having the worst year of his career after signing with Houston in November, Peavy is a bona fide NL Cy Young Award candidate. Peavy has posted a 1.01 ERA en route to winning four straight starts for the second time in his career, and is a win away from moving into a tie for the NL lead in that category.

The right-hander gave up four runs - two earned - and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 10-4 win over Cincinnati on Sunday.

Peavy matched up with Williams and earned a win against the Astros on July 27, allowing one run and four hits while striking out eight in seven innings of a 9-4 victory. Williams took the loss, surrendering five runs and eight hits in six innings.

Peavy is 6-4 with a 2.33 ERA in 11 starts against Houston (54-67). Several Astros have struggled against Peavy, including Brad Ausmus (.125), Lance Berkman (.192) and Craig Biggio (.226).

Oddsmakers from have made San Diego -210 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 7 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Houston +180 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

A teammate of Peavy's for two years, Williams has reached double digits in losses for only the fourth time in 11 years as a full-time starter and has allowed a major league-worst 27 homers.

The right-hander, though, has had two straight strong starts, going 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA.

In his last outing, Williams gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings of Houston's 6-4 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.

He is 4-1 with a 3.08 ERA in five starts against the Padres, but will be facing a lineup that has scored eight runs or more in four of its last six games.

Mike Cameron had a three-run homer and Pete Laforest hit a two-run shot to highlight a nine-run fifth inning as San Diego beat Colorado 11-9 on Thursday night.

"It was a great win. Contributions all around," Padres manager Bud Black said.

San Diego (65-55) won two of three games against the Rockies to keep its lead in the wild-card race, and remain three games behind first-place Arizona in the NL West.

Houston, meanwhile, lost the last two games of a four-game set with Los Angeles, including a 6-2 defeat in the series finale Thursday night. The Astros were held to five runs in the series' last two games, and they could be without one of their hottest hitters for a second straight game Friday.

Houston right fielder Luke Scott sat out Thursday after re-injuring his groin in Wednesday's 6-3 loss, and is listed as day to day.

"It's the same thing I've had in the past," Scott told the team's official Web site. "I have to be careful. I've been running well the last three weeks since the All-Star break. It's something I have to deal with, get it healthy again."

Scott is batting .367 (11-for-30) with 10 RBIs in his last 11 games.

The Astros and Padres split a four-game series in Houston from July 26-29.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

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